LFSB member visits seed projects in USA and Canada

LFSB member and community gardener, Charlotte Dove, recently returned from a 10-week research trip to seed saving ventures in the USA and Canada. Charlotte will be sharing seeds and stories from her adventure at LFSB’s Seedy Saturday on Saturday 5th March. Mark the date in your diaries. More info to follow soon.

The aim of Charlotte’s research was to examine different kinds of community seed project and to evaluate their success in protecting seed diversity. Charlotte will be working with members of the LFSB Steering Group over the coming months to help develop our strategy and community outreach. She is also hoping her research will help to inform and support community seed saving practices in the UK more widely.

Charlotte writes:

“America and Canada both have a wealth of community seed saving projects to learn from. I visited a diverse range of projects, from newly-established seed libraries, to the Seed Savers Exchange, America’s largest seed swap, to a number independent seed companies, engaged in exciting breeding projects.

I was truly inspired by the role that community seed projects have had in protecting seed diversity: Countless varieties, including many heritage seeds, have been saved from the brink of extinction; Gardeners in different regions have exchanged seeds, helping to increase the genetic diversity and resilience of specific varieties; Networks of gardeners and small-scale farmers have provided the means for individuals to share seeds, skills and other resources. 

The community seed saving movement as a whole has created a mass of people who are taking an interest in seed, asking questions about where their seeds have come from, and wanting to discover more unusual varieties. Seed saving is no longer a niche concern but is gradually spreading throughout their culture. Seed savers are being recognised for the valuable work they have been doing for generations and a whole new generation is being inspired to take part.

I’ve returned to the UK with a bag full of interesting seeds and a heart full of inspiring stories, and I can’t wait to share both of these with LFSB members. I’ve learnt that there is huge potential to expand the work being done by community seed saving organisations in the UK, and I think LFSB is in an excellent position to lead the way.”

For more info about Charlotte’s project and all of the amazing work going on in USA and Canada, check out her website: www.seeddiversity.wordpress.com

Charlotte and sunflower

Charlotte admiring a mighty sunflower in Portland, Oregon.

The research has been funded by the Winston Churchill Memorial Trust. The Trust awards Travelling Fellowship grants to UK citizens to carry out research project overseas. These projects are designed to exchange ideas and best practice, and build greater understanding between peoples and different cultures, in order that communities in the UK can benefit from these shared experiences.




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