As annual seed catalogues hit the doormats of eager gardeners, the UK and Ireland Seed Sovereignty Programme urges people to reconsider their purchasing habits and plant a seed of change in 2019 by buying from organic, local and small-scale seed producers.
The programme, which was launched in 2017 to support and encourage small-scale seed producers and increase the amount and diversity of organic seed being produced in the UK & Ireland, is led by The Gaia Foundation in partnership with the Soil Association, the Landworkers Alliance, Irish Seed Savers Association and the Seed Cooperative.
Neil Munro, the Programme Manager says “we’re aiming to highlight the importance of organic seed and to point growers in the right direction to find good quality, locally produced varieties. Small producers like Real Seeds in Wales, Vital Seeds in Devon, the Seed Cooperative in Lincolnshire and the Irish Seed Savers are all committed to cultivating the most delicious, locally adapted and resilient varieties that we have to offer here on home soil. Supporting them is a vote for small-scale farming and a vote for environmentally conscious gardening. At the end of the day, when seeds are produced organically, they don’t cost the Earth.”
Fred Groom, founder of Vital Seeds in Devon explains why buying organic is so critical and how they work: “We select the plants for various traits and abilities to withstand the ups and downs of life including water shortages, visits by hungry insects and diseases, very low temperatures etc. When growing crops in organic systems it’s important that the varieties have proved themselves to be able to cope with the specific conditions associated with those systems, and the climate in the area where they will be grown.
From an ecological perspective it has never been more important to support organic farming. The chemicals which are used in ‘conventional’ farming are poisoning and undermining the unique and vital soil ecosystems which we need to support us into the future. Not to mention all of the above-ground decimation of insect populations that comes with the widespread use of insecticides on crops.”
Seed Week is an online campaign spotlighting the work of regional seed producers from 3rd – 7th December. To follow and find out more about where you can source locally adapted, organic seed this Christmas, revisit the website during Seed Week.
Notes to editors:
Seed Week runs from Monday 3rd December to Friday 7th December 2018. Interviews and short films featuring agro-ecological seed producers will be featured on the website daily. Professional photographs and film are available upon request.
For press enquiries please contact Rowan Phillimore at The Gaia Foundation on 07748945204 or by emailing [email protected]
Interviews can be arranged with any of the programme’s Regional Coordinators or the Programme Manager.