About the Seed Sovereignty Programme

The Seed Sovereignty Programme of the UK & Ireland aims to support the development of a biodiverse and ecologically sustainable seed system here on home soil. Working closely with farmers, seed producers and partners across the seed sector, together we want more agro-ecological seed produced by trained growers, to conserve threatened varieties and to breed more varieties for future resilience.

The programme is being led by The Gaia Foundation who have been working on seed and knowledge for over three decades both in the UK and overseas.


  • To support and cultivate regional and national connections and collaboration to provide coherence across the food and seed sector.
  • To support farmers and growers with further skills, resources and information.
  • To foster a more supportive environment for a biodiverse and ecologically sustainable seed system to thrive.


  • Strengthen networks and support hubs of seed producers across the UK & Ireland
  • Train farmers & growers in seed production, processing and storage
  • Lobby with partners for changes to legislation that encourage small-scale seed producers
  • Establish a database providing useful information on varieties, by growers for growers
  • Variety trials designed to assess varieties suitable for agro-ecological cultivation and their ability to produce seed in various landscapes and climates across the UK and Ireland
  • Participatory Plant Breeding (PPB) with researchers and breeders
  • Raise awareness amongst new farmers and growers and the general public on the issues of seeds, their provenance and their production

Regional Coordinators

Meet the Coordinators who are based across the UK and Ireland...

Maria Scholten
Regional Coordinator for Scotland

Maria is supporting growers and crofters across Scotland. She has been working in the Highlands and Islands of Scotland collaborating and advising on seed issues and policy with the Scottish Crofting Federation (SCF) for many years.

Katie Hastings
Regional Coordinator for Wales

Katie is coordinating the seed sovereignty programme in Wales. She is also co-founder of the community organisation Mach Maethlon which works to strengthen food sovereignty in Mid Wales.

Page Dykstra
Regional Coordinator for Eastern England

Page is the Eastern England Regional Coordinator for the UK & Ireland Seed Sovereignty Programme. Originally from South Dakota in the United States, Page has a long-standing interest in sustainable food systems. In addition to her work for Gaia, Page also carries out Organic and Demeter production inspections for Biodynamic Association Certification and works alongside the CSA network.

Ellen Rignell
Regional Coordinator for Western England

Ellen is supporting growers in the West of England to increase their seed production. She also works for Trill Farm Garden, a small-scale vegetable garden which supplies produce to restaurants and grows seed for the Real Seed Catalogue.

Wayne Frankham
Regional Coordinator for Ireland

Wayne is supporting growers across Ireland, working under the Irish Seed Savers Association. Wayne has worked as a Community Organic Gardener since 2006, growing & selling produce, co-ordinating a community seed system.

Sinead Fortune
Programme Manager

Sinéad is supporting the regional coordinators at a national and international level, as well as coordinating activities in central and lowland Scotland. With a background in food security, community empowerment and social enterprise, Sinéad's previous work has been in community-based food production, sustainable food innovation and community funding.

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