A story of seed – an interactive northern Seed Sovereignty networking session
Hosted by the Gaia Foundation Seed Sovereignty Programme.
The session intended to connect northern seed sovereignty networks, to gain a better understanding of what’s happening in the region, including successes and what’s needed to develop greater seed sovereignty.
Now in Phase 2, the Seed Sovereignty Programme UK & Ireland from the Gaia Foundation, has appointed a dedicated coordinator for the northern region. The coordinator’s role is to support and build seed sovereignty networks in the north, supporting farmers and growers to develop seed sovereignty through training, the sharing of skills and resources and coordinated activities. These will be geared towards supporting an increase in commercially available open-pollinated seed and seed saving in the region as part of agro-ecological systems for greater food sovereignty.
Participants were invited to bring some (actual) seeds of significance to them, share the story of those seeds, what’s going well and what needs to happen next, so that they and others across the region might enjoy seed sovereignty.
Charlie Gray is the Coordinator for North England and has been working on food systems for more than 10 years in Yorkshire, supporting community growers and connecting with allotmenteers and farmers. She is based at Horton Community Farm Cooperative where she coordinates seed-saving and co-founded and works cooperatively with various food organisations locally as well as permaculture networks nationally. She is an ethnobotanist by training and interested in the power of seed sovereignty to transform food systems and build community resilience. As a Yorkshire plant-based eater particularly loves all manner of leafy vegetables and broccoli (fortunately)!
Dr Dennis Touliatos, Researcher Centre for Agroecology , Water and Resilience is the Coordinator of the ‘Lancaster Seed Library’, a community seed saving project which focuses on collecting, saving and distributing locally adapted seeds, and re-skilling local growers in seed saving.
Maria Scholten, Regional Coordinator for Highland and Islands Scotlan, is supporting growers and crofters across Scotland. She has been working in the Highlands and Islands of Scotland collaborating and advising on seed issues and policy with the Scottish Crofting Federation (SCF) for many years.
Richie Walsh, Regional Coordinator for Lowland Scotland joined the team in June 2020 as the Lowlands Scotland Seed Sovereignty Coordinator. He has an academic background in amenity horticulture, market gardening and plant conservation. He works professionally in the field of horticultural therapy and is a keen amateur botanist specialising in the heather family native to Europe. He has a passion for community food growing. Over the last decade, he has set up and run community gardens in Dublin, Amsterdam and Glasgow. When not digging in a garden or wandering and botanising in the countryside, Richie can be found brewing his own beer, mead and hedgerow wines.
You can read a blog post about the outcomes of the session here.