Training & Events
Check in here for events, trainings and workshops delivered by the Seed Sovereignty team. All in-person events are subject to local guidance on Covid-19 safety procedures and are liable to be cancelled or rescheduled at short notice during the pandemic. Please watch out for regular updates for programme events you have signed up for.
23rd and 24th of October, online
Suitable for: commercial, community and home growers interested in the issues around seed, seed suppliers and companies involved in the movement, international collaborators, and ally organisations
The 2021 Seed Gathering – our first ever! – will be held virtually to keep all participants safe and minimise any disruption to programming due to changing pandemic restrictions.
However, we have a few tricks up our sleeve to ensure that all attendees still feel connected, engaged and excited by what’s on offer!
Here’s what you can expect:
- Keynote by internationally-celebrated scientist and activist Dr Vandana Shiva
- Updates and planning sessions for our grain and vegetable seed networks
- A screening of Gaia’s acclaimed ‘Seeds of Freedom‘ documentary
- Spotlight on a new oat de-huller prototype and processing equipment
- Discussions on grain and vegetable seed legislation in the UK post-Brexit
- Wisdom from international allies and collaborators
- Seed genetic diversity insights and opportunities
…and much, much more!
3rd July & 7th August, online
Intended for: commercial or community growers wanting to start their seed saving journey or thinking about the year-long intermediate course
The course will cover:
Introduction to plant taxonomy
Isolation distances and techniques
Fitting seed saving into your rotation
Case studies of two crops
Seed sorting, cleaning, and packaging
Sign up here; for more information email Richie@gaianet.org
26 May, 7 – 8:30 pm, online
Intended for: commercial growers interested in integrating seed production into their rotations
Market gardeners and commercial growers hold a vital part in developing our seed sovereignty here in the UK both in terms of variety and quantity of locally-produced seed. However, one of the biggest concerns from commercial growers interested in producing seed – for their own use, to swap in seed circles, or to sell to seed suppliers as another income stream – is how to balance demands of a market garden with the unique challenges producing seed raises. Drawing on the experience of growers who have followed this path we hope to give you the inside track on growing seeds as part of market gardening operation.
The Seed Sovereignty Programme invites you to join us and speakers Jason Horner of Leen Organics, Ann Owen of Einion’s Garden and André Tranquilini of Waltham Place to explore seed production in market gardens and learn from their experience of following this path.
Please sign up to the webinar here.
24 May, 11am, Oxford City Farm
Intended for: growers and gardeners keen to learn more about seed saving
Saving and exchanging seed at seed swaps, in community gardens, on allotments or in seed circles is an empowering and fulfilling way to take ownership of our food systems. It is a way of fostering a deeper connection to the natural world and natural processes, to understand better the food we are growing and putting into our bodies and to become more self-reliant at the individual and community level.
This workshop hosted by the Seed Sovereignty Programme will introduce growers and gardeners to the practicalities of saving seed, equipping them with the tools to get going themselves. Participants will get a grounding in why to save seed, how to get going and how to connect with others doing the same.
Places limited, please sign up here.
May 2021 – April 2022, online with in-person events restrictions allowing
Intended for: Commercial growers in Northern England wanting to integrate seed crop into their production
This course will be interactive and (circumstances permitting), will include 2 site visits. It is aimed at providing a theoretical framework and practical experience to support you as you grow your own crop for seed this year. It will include an annual cycle of growing crops for seed, supported by detailed information from experts.
300 hours over 10 eves online, plus 2 site visits.
Sliding scale fee £180-£75
Subsidised by Gaia foundation’s seed sovereignty programme: Bursary places available
To apply please complete application form here.
Producing an open pollinated seed crop on your farm can improve the quality of your future crops, increase plant adaptation to local conditions, give you access to new varieties and new skills. Seed production can also bring an added income stream to your farm through contract growing or direct sales in the future.
Our 12-month seed production training is designed to give you the tools to grow open pollinated vegetable seed crops competently. It will offer you an overview of the political, ethical, and economic context of seed production in Wales. We will cover topics as broad ranging as plant botany, seed cultivation, seed sovereignty and seed justice.
The course is being delivered as a partnership between Tyfu Cymru and the UK Seed Sovereignty Programme. We will welcome outside teachers to lead on specific topics, as well as working closely with expert trainers from the Heritage Seed Library.
The course will be delivered via online workshops, with the opportunity for in person farm visits in the Summer (COVID-19 restrictions allowing). You will also be asked to produce a seed crop while taking part in the training to give you some practical experience.
The course is designed to be taken as an entire 12-month programme; we do not recommend attending single sessions. One to one mentoring can be provided to those who need it between scheduled sessions.
March – December 2021, held online once a month. The course consists of 30 hours of training. Attendees will be asked to keep a portfolio for each crop they grow for seed.
Intended for: commercial growers aiming to integrate seed production into their growing. To be eligible for the course you should have completed an intro level seed saving course, either run by The Seed Sovereignty Programme, or a similar intro course. You should also have a minimum of three years’ experience in growing vegetables. Attendees are expected to grow at least two crops for seed in the coming year and to report on their progress with the crops throughout the course.
- Politics & history of seed global context
- Politics & History of seed UK & Ireland context
- Plant reproductive strategies
- Methods of pollination
- Isolation distances & techniques
- Seed crop pests & seed-borne disease
- Introduction to plant genetics
- What to select for / rogue out
- Selecting out-breeders
- Selecting in-breeders
- Seed legislation
- Seed testing
- Selling seed crops
- Harvesting and processing tomato and pepper seed (hands-on if possible)
- Drying, cleaning
- Processing, storage
- Case studies of various crops through the lens of seed saving
Guest speakers and experts in their fields will present some of the content.
January 13-27, online
Intended for: community groups, those interested in seed production
This is an online course over 3 x 2-hour eve sessions which will cover the following:
Session 1 (with Sue Stickland former Head of Ryton Gardens (Garden Organic) & author of several books inc Backgarden Seed Saving):
Wed 13th Jan 7-9pm:
Introduction to seed sovereignty; politics & botany
Session 2 (with Sue Stickland):
Wed 20th Jan 7-9pm
Growing Healthy Seed Crops
Session 3 (with Peter Brinch of http://open-pollinated-seeds.org.uk/about-peter-brinch/and Dennis Touliatos of Lancaster Seed Library https://www.facebook.com/groups/1578483389091139/):
Wed 27th Jan 7-9pm
Seed Production for Commerce & Community
Please contact Charlie (firstname.lastname@example.org) for specific queries.
January and February 2021, online
Intended for: Scottish growers
These courses aim to train seed savers in Scotland to a professional level. The focus is primarily on vegetable seeds and specifically for Scottish growing conditions.
A short intro course, offered as live webinars on two Saturdays, the 23rd of January and the 20th of February, will cover seed plant biology & reproduction systems, growing seed crops, intro to harvesting and processing, seed production, and planning. The last topic had not been covered in previous intro courses and will be presented by experienced market-gardener and commercial seed producer Ellen Rignell of Trill Farm.
This intro course is a gateway to the intermediate course that will follow immediately after in March with 9 webinars spread over the rest of the year; more in-depth and hands-on, requiring trainees to grow at least one seed crop. Those who wish to further progress can then apply to an advanced course in 2022.
The intro course will cost £30 for two 3-hour webinars, with a sliding scale to allow low-income persons to enroll as well. Registration on Eventbrite. The course will be repeated in the second half of 2020.
Please ensure to select tickets for both days on Eventbrite.
For specific queries email Richie Walsh (email@example.com)
January and February 2021, online
Intended for: growers in Southeast England
Saving and exchanging seed at seed swaps, in community gardens, on allotments or in seed circles is an empowering and fulfilling way to take ownership of our food systems. It is a way of fostering deeper connection to the natural world and natural processes, to better understand the food we are growing and putting into our bodies and to become more self-reliant at the individual and community level.
This course will introduce growers and gardeners to the practicalities of saving seed, equipping them with the tools to get going themselves. Participants will get a grounding in historical, cultural and political dimensions to seed saving, as well as how to connect with others saving seed and set up community collections and swaps.
We will meet every Thursday evening from 21st January 2021 to 11th February 2021 from 7-9pm.
Over four weeks, the course will cover:
- History and politics of seed
- Seed stories
- Basic plant botany
- Seed production theory
- Growing healthy seed crops
- Maintaining seed collections
- Building seed networks
- Hosting seed swaps
Please contact Helene (firstname.lastname@example.org) for specific queries.