There is real momentum in the seed sovereignty movement here in the South East of England with new projects and initiatives emerging regularly. From Oxfordshire through to Kent, local seed networks are forming, building resilience and seed diversity at a more local scale.
Seed Production in the South East of England: Politics and Practice
Date and time: beginning on 9th October 2022
Over nine months, this course will thoroughly ground growers in the politics and practice of seed production. Participants will learn the skills of successful seed production, from plant botany right through to routes to market. Alongside growing a seed crop together, they will learn about the historical, cultural and political dimensions to working with seed and how to navigate seed legislation.
For details on what the training will cover and where to purchase tickets visit our Eventbrite page.
As across the Programme, our seed politics and practice training is the core of our work here in the Southeast and we are lucky to run them in collaboration with some of the most inspiring growers, trainers and projects across the region.
We offer in-depth introductory programmes, equipping participants from community and commercial backgrounds with the theory and practice to get going with seed saving, either over four-weeks online or over the course of a day in-person.
We are also launching our first intermediate year-long seed production training in Autumn 2022. This is a hybrid training, partially online and partially on farms across the South East, giving participants a thorough grounding in how to incorporate seed production into their growing and businesses.
Get in touch if you are interested in either of these training opportunities.
When we think of seed sovereignty, we rarely think of urban spaces yet in cities across the UK and Ireland, seed savers are actively building urban crop diversity. The diversity of people which characterises our cities is reflected in the crops grown there, much of this thanks to migrant communities which have brought seeds from across the world building rich cultural, culinary and crop diversity to our cities. This film by Andy Pilsbury sheds light on the seed sovereignty movement in London.
With pandemic-induced empty supermarket shelves and a spike in the cost of living, more-and-more people have been made aware of the fragility of the industrial food system and the need to build resilient localised food systems. Seed sovereignty is central to this mission and we have noticed a real jump in interest for local community seed projects in the last two years. These are grassroots, generally volunteer-led projects which require time, energy and love to get off the ground and keep going. They warrant celebration!
The Guildford Seed Bank was launched in February 2022 to save and swap seeds in Guildford and Godalming, making as wide a range of crops as possible accessible to as many people as possible.
Seedy Sunday Brighton is a legend in the community seed saving world as the UK’s oldest and largest seed swap. For the last twenty years, it has hosted between two and three thousand people each first Sunday in February. Alongside the seed swap table, the event includes diverse speakers, over fifty community and commercial stalls, children’s activities and a pop-up café. It is a real community gathering. You can read more about them here.
Wakelyns is a Suffolk-based organic agroforestry, food and horticulture hub. Particularly known for their work producing and sharing YQ and Q Population Wheat, Wakelyns is also one of the longest-established agroforestry farms in the UK. Home to the Wakelyns Bakery, RealVeg CSA and The Woodland Haberdasher and hosting a wide variety of courses and workshops, Wakelyns is well worth a visit.
Hodmedods is leading the way to bring pulses and grains from fair and sustainable UK farms to the market. They focus particularly on rare, native foods like fava beans, black badger peas and quinoa from Essex.
Waltham Place is a 220-acre organic and biodynamic farm and garden in Berkshire. Viewing the farm as an interconnected organism, Waltham Place works to build biodiversity in all parts of the farm and garden, including in its work with seed.
The London Freedom Seed Bank is a network of food growers and gardeners in London dedicated to saving, storing and sharing open-pollinated seed. For the past decade, they have built a large, living collection of London-grown seed and an enthusiastic network of growers passing on the skills of saving seed.