Seed Diversity is critical for ensuring a secure and resilient food system that serves both people and planet. At a time of climate crisis, there has never been greater urgency to protect and restore global seed diversity, in the hands of farmers, not corporations.
Throughout most of our history, people have chosen the most resilient, most productive, most nutritious seeds. Those seeds have nourished us for the following year, and the year after that. Sowing, selecting, saving and sharing the source of new life was an intrinsic part of growing. Yet, in a short space of time, our long-honed skill with seed has withered as society has pursued commerce over co-evolution.
Be The Earth has supported The Gaia Foundation’s Seed Sovereignty Programme for the last three years. They support organically produced and open pollinated seeds, grown locally to reflect and adapt to diverse growing conditions, offering Small-scale Commercial Growers, Community Groups and Home Gardeners & Allotmenteers trainings, networks, resources and information to help protect and restore seed diversity across the UK and Ireland.
The reality of Brexit means that UK and Ireland-based growers now have access to much less seed diversity than they did just a few years ago. This means not just fewer crops to choose from to grow on their farms, but less breeding material also. With our ever-changing climate, it is imperative to start breeding our own vegetable crops which will not only survive but thrive on our agroecological farms for generations to come.
This film by Seed Sovereignty follows the market gardeners in Ireland who are returning to seed production; amongst the chaos of Brexit and climate change, their story offers security and hope for the future.
You can watch more films and find lots of useful resources here on the Seed Sovereignty website.
The Seed Sovereignty movement is gathering pace. The second annual Seed Gathering enjoyed increased attendance and participation compared to the first, with a 31% increase in attendees on the previous Gatherings’ numbers. This vibrant online event welcomed 433 attendees from 16 different countries. Following the successful trials in 2022, a new cohort of growers took part in online Seed Exchanges and have started trialling crops based on two themes, the Building Resilience and Adaptability, and the Growing Diversity Trial. Last year’s participants have progressed to try their hand at trialling biennial crops. All the participants are using the SeedLinked app to track their trials throughout the UK and Ireland.
If you would like to support the work of Seed Sovereignty, you might consider making a Seed Packet Pledge, donating the price of a seed packet – £2.50 per month – to support this work for seed and food sovereignty in the UK and Ireland. Click the button bellow to make your pledge and find out about other ways to support Seed Sovereignty.