The importance and role of seed saving: session outcomes

Hear from Charlie Gray who convened two sessions focused on seed saving at the Northern Real Farming Conference 2020.

On the opening evening of the conference we ran a northern seed saving networking session which was well attended, had a very positive vibe and gave me hope for a vibrant network. We heard from four speakers and then had discussions. I gathered email contacts so it was a very positive event. Great to hear from so many positive people saving seeds or wanting to!

We heard from four presenters, two from Scotland, one from the Lancaster Seed Library, and there was also an introduction to the seed sovereignty programme and the fact there’s now a regional coordinator in place. We heard from Maria and the bere growers in the highlands and how important grain is, Richie and his Kortahork Cabbage in the lowlands and links to Ireland and Irish seed saversI People brought seed, their passion and a story to introduce themselves to the session where we also discussed what they saved, where they grew, what they could offer the network and challenges they faced. 

You will be able to watch the recording of the session here.

A second session on seed saving explored ‘why is seed sovereignty important’?. There was a wide and varied group in attendance, clearly interested in many different aspects and types of seed saving and there was lots of seed offered during that session!

The presentations showed different aspects of why seed sovereignty is important. We heard from Sinead Manager of the Seed Sovereignty programme about the current state of seed in the UK, politics, legislation and why we need to do this work. Hans Steenbergen previously of Stormy Hall Seeds and now a co-founder and advisor to the Seed Coop also shared experiences and we heard about some of the technicalities of different seed from different places like the seed producers in Germany. Pippa Chapman, a master horticulturist, organic grower and small holder talked about her variety breeding with squash for flavour, storability and taste, potatoes for blight resistance and some of her experiments and challenges. We also heard from Maria about some of the technicalities with growing grain and why it’s important.

You can watch the recording of this session here.

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