This week Wales Coordinator Katie Hastings walks us through the vital steps that come after all that lovely seed is grown, harvested, and processed. While actually selling the seed might seem like the easy bit, there’s a lot more than meets the eye…


Our members are responsible for physically packing their seeds into packets once germination testing is done. This can be a fiddly process, requiring precision jewellers’ scales or specific volume scoops. Different crops require different packing solutions. Because our growers are effectively selling their own seeds direct to customers via the WSH, they choose the number of seeds per packet and price, usually sticking closely to the quantities that other seed companies offer.  

The branding and printing of our seed packets is a collective endeavour. We want our seeds to look the same and be recognisable as coming from us. We chose to employ a designer to create a seed pack design for us in one colour, keeping a space blank in the middle for variety descriptions to be added. Our packets are printed in bulk on a risograph printer at Oxford Greenprint, an environmentally friendly printing technique that uses vegetable inks pushed through a master template. While the design process was time-consuming, these packets can be used for years to come. 

Photo by Wales Seed Hub


In our experience, regular discussions about the packets has helped to foster shared responsibility, with one member taking responsibility for organising the printing. For seeds we’re selling in higher quantities, we’ve pre-printed the variety descriptions. For smaller batches, variety descriptions are printed on separate labels and stuck onto the standard packets.   

We hold a collective responsibility for ensuring that the packets meet the legal standards, which include correct labelling and sealing. But we do allocate one person to be responsible for checking packet requirements and reporting back to the group. 

Packets must include the variety name, the seed batch, plant passport (where relevant) and our contact details. We ensure that the packets are properly sealed to prevent cross-contamination. 

Photo by Wales Seed Hub




  • Think about seed packet design well in advance of harvest 
  • Have standard packets printed to give a unified look 
  • Consider how each grower will be getting their seeds into the packets, measurements can be tricky and vary from crop to crop 
  • Look to other seed companies to get a general idea of how many seeds to include in a packet and what to charge 




We have rotating roles within the WSH, one of which is Secretary, who is responsible for being the named person on our APHA license. The named Secretary is the keeper of the central seed store, keeping the seeds in one place ready for distribution (and possible inspection). Once the seed is in the packets, it goes to our central store. 

Hundreds of seed packets can take up considerable space. We ordered collapsible shelving to be used in the Secretary’s office and storage boxes with ventilation to keep the stock safe long term. The central store needs to be dry and cool. It is a significant responsibility to store the group’s seeds correctly, and it could become increasingly necessary to work out how to share this risk and ensure the safety of the hard grown seeds. 

We had planned to sell most of our seeds in person at events and farmers markets, but the pandemic had other ideas! Rushing to open for sales in 2021, we opted to use the Open Food Network software to create an online shop to take orders and card payments. Only offering postage once per week reduced the workload of having to make multiple post office trips, with the software giving us clear lists of orders to dispatch.  

Paying for recycled cardboard envelopes from our central WSH kitty, our Secretary has the weekly job of packing up envelopes and posting them second class. We quickly discovered that the Post Office are not so keen to have us turn up with 35 parcels at the counter. We signed up to the free ‘Drop and Go’ service which allows us to top of an online balance and then literally drop the parcels at the Post Office and go. Our parcels are weighed at quiet periods of the day and the postage is deducted from our pre-paid balance.  

As we grow in size our online selling fees will increase. We will need to weigh up the benefits of using our online shop versus in person sales. While we can reach more people online, we also gain work in managing our selling platform and posting orders. It is unclear if this is outweighed by the extra time we would spend delivering seed to in person venues to be sold. We suspect that there is a need to benefit from the publicity that in person events can offer, while also having the seed available to buy online 24/7. We will likely choose a hybrid of both selling models to reach as many customers as possible. 

Photo by Katie Hastings


  • Think about safe storage – it should be cool, dry and sufficiently spacious 
  • Weigh up the benefits of online vs in person sales 
  • Plan for extra postage, packing and delivery costs 
  • Sign up to ‘Drop and Go’ at the Post Office 
  • Chose selling software that can take payments and give clear order lists – these reduce labour 





Opening our shop for our first test run in 2021, we were a little concerned that the orders didn’t just flood in! We knew we had produced good seed and we knew that people wanted it. But establishing ourselves as a go-to seed supplier was obviously going to take time. We knew we had opened our shop too late in the season (March), with most people putting seed orders in over Dec / Jan for the coming year. We also knew it would be difficult to get people to order from us when we could only offer two varieties that spring.  

Photo by Wales Seed Hub


Opening again in January 2022, armed with 14 new varieties, we were in a much stronger position. With 200 packets sold in the first fortnight, we could see that offering more choice, and at the correct time of year, was really paying off. 

Being supported by the Seed Sovereignty Programme, the WSH has been in a good position to reach out to the networks of seed savvy people in the UK looking for an ecological seed option. We have utilised social media accounts attached to Seed Sovereignty networks and linked in with media opportunities like #SeedWeek. 

Spreading the word about a seed outlet needs to happen in the same way a plant might propagate itself: using multiple strategies, in multiple directions. We now realise we need to publish articles, attend seed events, hold stalls and approach local groups. We have asked friends running a CSA to put fliers in their veg boxes. We requested a stand at a prominent seed swap. We were lucky enough to capture the attention of a national newspaper. As we spread our story further, we expect our sales to increase. 

Photo by Sue Stickland

We found stories work best to capture the imagination. Pictures of our growers holding their crops and telling the world why they grow them do 50% better on social media than pictures of the crops themselves. Seeds have stories too and it’s important to share these variety stories to help people engage with why our seeds are special.  


Following advice from our mentors at Real Seeds, we plan to target our local media next, attempting to offer local interest pieces on why we want to sell Welsh-grown seed in Wales. We plan to connect with more gardening groups, garden centres and environmentally-minded folk, looking to connect with the ‘low hanging fruit’ of potential customers already interested in a resilient seed system.  

Photo by Wales Seed Hub



  • Spread your message in diverse ways 
  • Share the stories (and faces!) of your growers 
  • Pictures speak a thousand words, make sure you capture good pictures with your crops when they are out in the fields 
  • Remember it takes time to build a customer base 
  • Connect with regional groups already interested in seed sovereignty 
  • Connect with national seed networks through the Seed Sovereignty Programme 



‘This article is part of a full guide based off lessons learned from the Wales Seed Hub. For the previous instalments, click here. The complete guide is available in our Resources section, and will be updated regularly as the knowledge and experience of the Hub grows. This is just one example of setting up a seed cooperative, but we hope that by detailing the journey of the Wales Seed Hub we can help other groups looking to follow a similar path in the future. You can learn more about the Wales Seed Hub here and support them by buying their seeds here.’