Farmers and gardeners have saved and shared their own seeds for thousands of years, but with the rise of global agribusiness, F1 hybrids and GM seed, many delicious heirloom and locally adapted varieties are being lost, and genetic diversity is being eroded. By growing our own seed we can help to turn the tide and make our own communities more resilient. Seed growing can be great fun and deeply satisfying – and anyone can do it.
First there’s the bad news – all that’s wrong with the current global-agribusiness-as-usual model. Much of the seed in British seed catalogues has been bred for industrial scale production and distribution, favouring qualities such as uniform ripening, superficial appearance and ability to withstand mechanical harvesting. Most of the seed in these catalogues is grown overseas, and over 60% of the global seed market is controlled by just a few agrochemical giants like Bayer and Monsanto.
And then the good news – how we can start to change the world, starting in our own back gardens. We want to grow local and heirloom varieties that taste fantastic, grow well in our local conditions and suit small scale production on allotments, and back gardens. We love the stories and connections that come with locally saved seeds – handed down through generations of a particular family, or passed from friend to friend. And we know that we’re part of a much wider renaissance in real, local, sustainable seed.