Last week, just as annual seed catalogues were hitting the doormats of eager gardeners, the UK and Ireland Seed Sovereignty Programme were celebrating Seed Week, designed to put the spotlight on the small-scale commercial seed producers growing for seed, right here on home soil.
By highlighting one commercial producer each day of the week, the campaign was designed to encourage gardeners and growers to change their purchasing habits and plant seed from local, organic and small-scale producers in 2019.
Real Seeds in Wales, the Irish Seed Savers Association, Vital seeds in Devon, the Seed Cooperative in Lincolnshire and Brown Envelope Seeds in Ireland were all featured daily in the campaign. Through a series of beautiful short films and interviews, viewers were invited to discover where the producers’ passion from seed started and to get a behind the scenes look at the growers’ gardens and greenhouses.
Further short films captured the voices of seed savers across varying landscapes, from Moy Hill Farm, where surfers are seed saving on the coast of Ireland, to Poyntzfield Nursery, where varieties of herbs are gathered and cultivated from high alpine regions. Seed Week gave a unique glimpse into the lives of committed seed savers from the coast to the mountains. All of the films can be viewed online here: https://www.seedsovereignty.info/videos/
Regional Programme Coordinators Maria Scholten in Scotland and Ellen Rignell in Western England also shared their thoughts on why agro-ecological seed is so critical:
“There’s so many reasons to buy local, agroecological seed. Buying this kind of seed is of course a more environmentally sustainable option, but I think the main reason to buy is because you’ll end up with a better vegetable crop. The majority of the seed available in the UK is grown in far-flung climes, much warmer and drier than the UK. This seed is often not well adapted to UK growing conditions. By buying local seed, you’ll end up with plants that are better adapted to your growing situation.” Said Ellen Rignell, Trill Farm and the UK & Ireland Seed Sovereignty Programme.
Wayne Frankham, Programme Coordinator for Ireland with the Irish Seed Savers, added: “Knowing where your seed is produced provides practical, transparent provenance. It means it has been adapted to successfully grow and reproduce in your environment. Building a relationship with your local grower, whether of vegetable produce or seed, also opens an essential channel for feedback and creates a richer food culture.”
We urge everyone to support and create a richer food culture by buying and planting locally produced, agro-ecological seeds in the year ahead.
Find a list of all suppliers plus links to the films and interviews featured throughout Seed Week here: https://www.seedsovereignty.info/where-to-buy-organic-seed-this-christmas/