“Inspired to extend seed saving practice.”

“I found the course very interesting and it was presented in an interesting and accessible way.”

“The networking part of this day was really worthwhile coming for.

These were some of the comments by participants at the well-attended Seed Production Training day at Newton Dee. Participants came from Aberfeldy, Peebles, Biggar, Elgin, Aboyne, Stonehaven and the wider Aberdeen area; amongst them a carrot-breeding farmer and market gardener, the NEEPS initiative; an Aberdeen chef and a cook; a former shepherdess turned market gardener; the Tarland seed savers group; growers from Aberfeldy Biodynamic Garden and Rose Isle Garden and of course from the brilliant Newton Dee Camphill Village gardening team.

The aims of the day were multiple, as is suitable when you bring people together from a large area: training in basic seed saving topics;an opportunity for Q&A about own seed saving practices; a networking event for Scottish seed saver groups and individuals and finally to reflect on the next steps for the Seed Sovereignty Programme in Scotland.

Seed programme manager Neil Munro gave two thorough sessions on basic seed saving with reproduction biology of seed plants; genetics and number of seed plants; isolation distances and techniques; roguing and selecting; variety maintenance; drying and storage; from seed saver to seed producer: planning seed crops, regulatory aspects of marketing and seed legislation. In between the garden was visited and we had a look at the leek and red kale seed plants, among other crops.

If you would like to have a seed training and networking event in your area in Scotland, do get in contact with maria@gaianet.org.