London Freedom Seed Bank Festival 2014

MandalaCould 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.

KMT Freedom Teacher and Emphasis m.c.
KMT Freedom Teacher and Emphasis m.c.
Mac Macartney
Mac Macartney












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.

Azul conducting the seed ceremony
Azul conducting the seed ceremony

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) : )

In solidarity

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.

Joe Duggan
Joe Duggan


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


Jack labelling seed
Jack labelling seed

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!

Emphasis m.c.
Emphasis m.c.
Charlotte on the door
Charlotte on the door

One thought on “London Freedom Seed Bank Festival 2014

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s