Seeds [Standing on Common Ground]

We’ve been visiting Whitehawk Community Food Project over the last year since we met up with them at Seedy Sunday 2011 in Brighton. This current film, about seed saving & seed circles, was made at this year’s Seedy Sunday & later up on the Community plot. The Project has been run for over 10 years by a group of 4 volunteer workers, including John, who appears in the film. We particularly like the hens!

 

Seed Saving is political!

At Brighton & Hove’s 11th Seedy Sunday, the 2 main issues being discussed amongst allotment growers & community growing projects were the 67% rise in allotment rents proposed by the Green council, & the need to move from simple seed swapping to seed saving. I intend posting on the allotment rent rise separately as it raises so many thorny issues.

Seedy Sunday & local seed swap events across the UK are an important point in the growing calendar. In Brighton & Hove, Seedy Sunday has taken place on the 1st Sunday of February since it started 11 years ago; the date’s significant because it’s the beginning of the 1st week of February, the traditional start of spring, celebrated by the Celtic festival of Imbolc.

Seed swaps are an important way of retaining control over the seed we use as growers, & an opportunity to share local knowledge about the plants & foods we grow & eat. However, seed saving has been spread as a ‘good thing’ without much discussion about good practice. There’s an awful lot of ‘bad’ seed floating around, & to be honest, I’ve stopped swapping my seed for anonymous packets on the seed swap stall at Seedy Sunday because of  some of the stuff I’ve taken home. I tend to swap my seeds with people who I know are experienced growers & I’m confident about the quality of their seed. Equally, I know about my seed, can pass on details of its characteristics & how it’s grown in different conditions (drought/cold/heat, etc). Also, what it tastes like & favorite recipes. Continue reading