There are many different seed initiatives around UK and Ireland.
Seed swaps are a very good initiative – especially for home growers – to get some new seeds and have the opportunity to share gardening knowledge and experiences with other growers. Seed swaps are held all over the country in January, February and March. The biggest in the UK is ‘Seedy Sunday’ in February in Brighton.
If you can’t find a seed swap initiative, then just try typing ‘seed swaps’ and your town into a search engine or ask at your local allotments or community food growing projects.
Community Seed banks in the UK & Ireland:
London Freedom Seed Bank is a network of food growers and gardeners dedicated to saving, storing and distributing open-pollinated seed.
Stroud Community Seed bank are a team of volunteer seed guardians growing vegetables, herbs and flowers for seeds in the back gardens, allotments and community plots of Stroud.
Other good seed initiatives to check out, especially for commercial growers, overseas are:
The Bauta Family Initiative on Canadian Seed Security is a movement for resilient seed systems across Canada. They collaborate with farmers, seed producers, researchers, and partners from civil society, government and business with the aim to conserve and improve biodiversity, maintain public access to seed, build and share knowledge of farmers about ecological seed production by delivering research and training programs.
The Organic Seed Alliance is a north American nonprofit organisation that envisions democratic and just organic seed systems. Beside training courses on organic seed production, they conduct professional organic plant breeding and seed production research, while also advocate for national policies that strengthen organic seed systems.
Réseau Semences Paysannes (France – in French) is a Farm Seeds Network of more than seventy organizations, all involved in initiatives to promote and defend cultivated biodiversity and associated knowledge.
In addition to coordinating and consolidating local initiatives, the network promotes collective management methods, protection of farmers ‘seeds, as well as the scientific and legal recognition of farmers’ practices of seed production and exchange and plants.
Red de Semillas (Spain – in Spanish). The Seed Network “Resembrando e Intercambiando” (RdS), is a decentralized organization of a technical, social and political nature, which has worked over the last 10 years to gather efforts around the use and conservation of agricultural biodiversity in local contexts, State and international. The main objective is to facilitate and promote the use, production, maintenance and conservation of agricultural biodiversity in the farms of farmers and in the dishes of consumers due to the serious loss of genetic resources that plagues agriculture and livestock.
Rete Semi Rurali (Italy – in Italian). Rete Semi Rurali was founded in 2007 with the aim to support and promote dialogue, sharing and exchange of knowledge and initiatives among those who sustain biodiversity values and oppose to intensive monoculture and genetically modified cultures.
Arche Noah (Austria – in German). The association ARCHE NOAH was founded in 1989 on the initiative of gardeners, peasants and journalists, who literally wanted to take the seeds back into their own hands as the basis of nutrition. Arche Noah preserves and cares for thousands of endangered vegetables, fruits and cereals. They are working successfully to bring traditional and rare varieties back to gardens and the market, thanks to the support of over 17,000 dedicated members and supporters.
Pro Specie Rara (Swiss – in French). ProSpecieRara is a Swiss non-profit foundation. It was founded in 1982 to preserve livestock breeds and crop plants threatened with extinction. The ‘mirror sheep’, the ‘woolly pig’, the ‘red garden patch’, the ‘star apple api’ and many others can be found again in fields, farms and meadows.
Seed Savers Exchange (USA) conserve and promote America’s culturally diverse but endangered garden and food crop heritage for future generations by collecting, growing, and sharing heirloom seeds and plants.