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.

Contact

Email: helene@gaianet.org

Twitter: @seenglandseed

Instagram: @helene__schulze

 

Training

As across the Programme, our seed politics and practice training is the core of our work here in the Southeast.

We offer in-depth introductory programmes, equipping participants 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.

Urban Seed Diversity

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.

 

Community Seed Initiatives

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, Godalming and Farming, 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.

Also in the South East

Wakelyns: A Suffolk-based Suffolk organic agroforestry, food and horticulture hub.

Hodmedods: ‘Hodmedod works with British farmers to provide pulses and grains from fair and sustainable UK production, organic where possible.’

Waltham Place: ‘Waltham Place, a 220 acre organic and biodynamic farm and garden which offers a unique opportunity for visitors to explore a series of naturalistic gardens, surrounding countryside and learn about the importance of sustainability and biodiversity.’

London Freedom Seed Bank: ‘A network of food growers and gardeners in London dedicated to saving, storing and sharing open-pollinated seed’