Application deadline Thursday 21st of March

The Seed Sovereignty Programme is pleased to announce a partnership with one of the UK’s top tomato breeders, Simon Crawford. Simon is the breeder of many modern tomato cultivars including the fully blight resistant ‘Crimson Crush’ F1. He has since developed two Open Pollinated lines using Crimson Crush F1 as one of the parents. This breeding trial is in collaboration with the UK Biodynamic Association and the former Seed Cooperative who have been growing these lines since 2019.

Building resilience and adaptability are a vital part of progressing seed sovereignty in our networks here in the UK and Ireland. The main challenges growers face with outdoor tomatoes here is early blight – Alternaria solani – and late blight – Phytophthora infestans. Many growers in the North of England and Scotland would say there is no point in growing outdoor tomatoes due to issues with blight and a short season. Instead they choose to only grow their tomatoes under protection.

The two lines for the trial are now ready for the F5 generation to be sown this April. We are seeking 20 UK or Ireland-based commercial and community market gardeners and seed growers to participate in this bulking up and trialling project. It is expected that participants will have completed the Seed Sovereignty Programme year-long seed production training or have commensurate experience.

Successful applicants will be posted +/- 8 seeds of each Variety and a control variety. They will be asked to save the seeds from their best 5 or 6 plants from each line which are most “true to type”. They will be asked to return 80% of the seeds of the experimental varieties to be grown in future seasons and will be allowed to keep 20% for your own non-commercial* use. Growing instructions and contracts will be sent to successful applicants along with the seeds.

Successful applicants will be asked to join a webinar (date tbc) and be involved in a WhatsApp group with fellow participants. They will also be required to use the SeedLinked app to record the progress of the trial.

Participants will be paid £100 at the end of the season upon return of 80% of the seed from the two experimental lines.

If you are interested in taking part in this trial, please fill out an application form below.

If you have any questions please get in touch with Richie from the Seed Sovereignty Programme:

* By taking part in this trial you agree not to sell or breed with the F5 experimental lines. The goal of this trial is to get two stable open pollinated lines with good blight resistance, vigour and flavour.

With thanks to our friends at the Wales Seed Hub for the photos.