If this year has taught us anything, it’s the importance of our local communities. The UK & Ireland Seed Sovereignty Programme works with a number of inspiring community seed projects across the country. In the South West, Stroud Community Seed Bank has begun a new project to adapt ‘Cherokee Trail of Tears’, a climbing French bean, grown principally for drying, to their local growing conditions.

Beth, the Stroud Community Seed Bank Coordinator, talks to the seed Sovereignty Programme about what’s been going on in the west…

“The idea is to increase number of Cherokee Trail of Tears so that it can be grown all over the Stroud District, gradually becoming more acclimatised to our soils and a more reliable crop to grow, eat, enjoy and save seed from.’ 

This year a number of Seed Guardians have grown and saved this seed, some with success, others encountering slug struggles! We used our new plot on the community allotment recently regenerated by Down to Earth Stroud, to grow this seed on a larger scale – it worked a treat! The plants were planted when they were a good size, companion plants such as nasturtium, calendula and borage were planted at a later date and the Cherokee Trail of Tears were left to grow and they thrived.’ 


‘We have now combined the Cherokee Trail of Tears beans grown and saved from different Seed Guardians across Stroud to increase the seeds genetic diversity for next year, increasing it’s potential to adapt to the local and changing conditions.

We now have a good amount of seed to distribute to Stroud early next year! Watch this space!”