Seeding change: Seed sovereignty inspiration from overseas

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Resource explained

In this workshop session held at the Organic Growers Alliance (OGA) Organic Matters 2022 conference, we hear how the Seed Sovereignty Programme’s Seed Production Training Programme and international exchanges have been learning from some inspirational seed breeders, growers, and community organisers from overseas. Two new entrant growers, Poppy Nicol and Holly Silvester, talk about what they have learnt and how this has impacted their work, with a particular focus on vegetable landraces, diverse varieties, and the celebration and culture of seed.

Findings & recommendations

  • The Culinary Breeding Network in the US is a good example of a network that connects farmers and breeders, along with chefs and artists, exploring taste, and how art can encourage more engagement around diversity and help support marketing campaigns. They also celebrate diversity and the heritage of seeds through field days and variety showcases.
  • Working with chefs can encourage a different way of thinking; not just focusing on raw tastes of crops, but also ways in which they can be cooked. Chefs often have a different appreciation of the structures of different crop varieties.
  • A landrace of squash from Wild Mountain Seeds in the US has proved to be a revelation… Holly Silvester says “There was just pure excitement (because) of the different colours, shapes and textures.” She pushes the case for exploring a “more dynamic and a more joyful way of growing food that celebrates diversity and facilitates plants broadening and adaptive memory that can make them more resilient to a rapidly changing world.”

Find out about the Seed Sovereignty Programme here

Summary provided by:

Phil Sumption

Edited by:

Janie Caldbeck

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