So much of life is very uncertain at the moment. The past few months have shaken much of what we once believed to be true, but certain things have shone through as vital, wholesome, and resilient; among these have been community and food. There is a shift back towards local food; to agroecological methods of growing that nourish their ecosystems rather than deplete them; that benefit the environment and communities in which they take place rather than exploiting them. We are awakening to the power of a food system that is local, fair, and resilient, yet no discussion of food can avoid a discussion of seed. Now, more than ever, where our seed comes from, how it is grown, and the values it imparts are becoming part of the conversation.
Thanks to the support of our funders – ThirtyPercy, the Samworth Foundation, the A Team Foundation, and the Savitri Trust – we are continuing our work to strengthen seed sovereignty in the UK and Ireland, support agroecological seed production and promote responsible, resilient seed choices for another three years. We have so many exciting things planned for the next few years, both online and in person (when it is safe to do so!) and we can’t wait to share them with you. If you have suggestions or would like to collaborate on something, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.
As part of the next phase of the programme, we’ve welcomed three new coordinators to our team:
Helene Schulze, Southeast England Coordinator
Helene is working with growers in Southeast England to increase their seed production. She is also co-director of the London Freedom Seed Bank and is especially interested in increasing the number and capacity of community seed banks across the region and getting more people saving seed. She strongly believes seed sovereignty to be the cornerstone of food sovereignty and food justice and particularly enjoys hosting seed storytelling circles and workshops on the politics of seed. She also the communications officer for the Food Ethics Council and helps to run a small community garden in Hackney, London. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Charlie Gray, North England Coordinator
Charlie has been working on food systems for more than 10 years in Yorkshire, supporting community growers and connecting with allotmenteers and farmers. She is based at Horton Community Farm Cooperative where she coordinates seed-saving and co-founded and works cooperatively with various food organisations locally as well as permaculture networks nationally. She is an ethnobotanist by training and interested in the power of seed sovereignty to transform food systems and build community resilience. As a Yorkshire plant-based eater particularly loves all manner of leafy vegetables and broccoli (fortunately)!Contact her at email@example.com.
Richie Walsh, Lowland Scotland Coordinator
Richie joined the team in June 2020 as the Lowlands Scotland Seed Sovereignty Coordinator. He has an academic background in amenity horticulture, market gardening and plant conservation. He works professionally in the field of horticultural therapy and is a keen amateur botanist specialising in the heather family native to Europe. He has a passion for community food growing. Over the last decade, he has set up and run community gardens in Dublin, Amsterdam and Glasgow. When not digging in a garden or wandering and botanising in the countryside, Richie can be found brewing his own beer, mead and hedgerow wines. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org