Could it really be a week since the festivities on the Battersea Barge? It seemed that fun was had by all! We started the evening with some wonderful music from Annalou, accompanied by Caroline David who also performed her seed anthem Seed unto Seed later in the evening. Next up it was KMT Freedom Teacher, with a guest performance from MC MFaSis, the youngest performer of the evening at only 12 years old. Both held everyone captivated and put spirit into the evening that was to continue throughout the night.
We heard some beautiful poems from Joe Duggan of Crystal Palace Transition Town, and also our very own Antony Melville (whose poem we have published below).
We were honoured to have Mac Macartney, founder of Embercombe come and speak to us early on in the evening. Amongst the many words he said, he told us of the power contained within just a single seed. Enough in some cases to literally break through rock when reaching a certain size. When considering ourselves as seeds we should remember that we all have the power to do incredible things! Which leads us on to Jane Rabinowicz from USC Canada. As Director of the Bauta Family Initiative on Canadian Seed Security, Jane told us about the multi-targeted approach USC Canada are taking to address the situation in Canada of increased uniformity of field crops, imported (and therefore not adapted to Canada’s climates) vegetable seed, and decreased government spending on plant breeding. This will probably sound very familiar to people! The linked up approach of Bauta Family Initiative includes supporting the scale up of small seed providers, facilitating field research including participatory plant breeding approaches, and significant training and capacity-building amongst farming and seed networks.
The heart of the evening, and of course the reason we hold the festival, was our ceremony. During the ceremony the London Freedom Seed Savers who had been on our trainings earlier in the year (and also some very generous guest growers), donated the seed they have saved this year to the bank. We were proud to have Azul Valerie-Thome, initiator of the LFSB and founder of FOOD from the SKY, travel from Schumacher college to be with us and conduct the beautiful ceremony, as well as build the spectacular mandala. Thank you to all our wonderful seed savers who contributed to the ceremony, your saved seeds will be redistributed during our trainings early next year.
The second part of the evening kicked off with the infectious rhythms and rhymes of the fantastic Vibe Machine. Vibe Machine were followed by the Muckers – true ceilidh pro’s– just how did they manage to get so many already merry people to do strip the willow on a barge? We saw it with our own eyes or else we wouldn’t have believed it!
And now to the seed bank… this Autumn and winter we plan to germination test the donated seed, in preparation for redistribution next year. We are also entering a stage of planning for the coming year. Thank you to everyone who was at the festival for making it a fantastic evening – we at LFSB are already looking forward to next year’s (albeit after a bit of a break) : )
London Freedom Seed Bank
p.s. Our friend KMT freedom teacher of May Project Gardens will be hosting an event ‘Come We Grow’ on Friday 31st October. Please check out this site for more details. Please also see the websites of Vibe Machine and the Muckers for upcoming gigs.
Tilia Cordata by Antony Melville
Capsule that carries the code of a living creature
Miniature velvet sphere that shapes a tree
From cells selected to bring forth each feature –
Leaf, branching shape and flower, that we may see
The ancient lineage of the small leaved lime
Stand smiling by the path between the oaks –
Now touch the teeming soil, for it is time;
A million microbes call to you and coax
The tiny movement of a cell to break
Its fissure in the earth with one first root,
To find its food and so entice you on
To put out leaves and through the summer make
A sapling, which in years will bear the fruit
Of scented flowers spread before the sun.
photos by KMT Freedom Teacher, Azul-Valerie Thome, and Antony Melville, with more on the way!