Join our seed saver network

We are recruiting new members to our Freedom Seed Saver Network! All new members will benefit from free training, support from our network of seed savers, and the chance to grow and save seeds for the Freedom Seed Bank.

We are offering new members the opportunity to take part in a series of workshops covering all the basics of saving seed for the most popular vegetable crops: in return we’d like you to grow and save seeds for the Freedom Seed Bank. The workshops will take place in the first half of 2018 at various community gardens across London.

Our network fosters peer-to-peer learning and support and so each of the workshops will be lead by a different network member. Each of the gardens that we visit will feature a seed saving garden/plot that has been established by one of our members.

The workshops will cover:

  • Botany for seed savers
  • Planning a seed saving garden
  • ‘How to’ guide for saving seeds of tomatoes, peas, beans and lettuces

There will be a total of 5 – 6 sessions with a minimum commitment of 4 sessions. Workshops will be approximately 2 to 3 hours on a Saturday morning, roughly once a month, plus optional trips or gatherings at other times. Exact timings and venues to be confirmed.

We are looking for people who already have knowledge and experience of food growing and have a space where you can grow seed crops (this could be a home, community or school garden).

This a great opportunity to receive FREE training, to learn about the lost art of seed saving and to help preserve our precious vegetable varieties for future generations.

If you are interested in taking part then please send an expression of interest (max 2 sides of A4) telling us about yourself and why you are interested in joining our network. The deadline for expressions of interest is Sunday 26th November.

Please send your expressions of interest or get in touch with any questions to: freedomseedbank@gmail.com.

 

Image: Lettuce seed heads, by Richard Galpin, Walworth Garden Lettuce Trials and London Freedom Seed Saving Project, 2017.

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Edible Living Harvest Festival

London Freedom Seed Bank are pleased to be taking part of the Edible Living Harvest Festival on Friday 22nd September. It’s going to be a fun celebration of growing with a pot luck dinner, activities to get your hands dirty, and the chance to meet Lambeth’s food growing community. We will be there with the seed bank so come along to get your hands on some FREE LOCAL ORGANIC SEEDS!

Edible Living Harvest Festival (1)

Seed: The Untold Story – LFSB screening

The London Freedom Seed Bank is delighted to be partnering with Demand:film to bring you a one-off screening of SEED: The Untold Story at The Whirled Cinema in Brixton on Sunday 3rd September. This incredible film follows the passionate seed keepers who protect our 12,000-year-old food legacy and reveals how the battle for control of our seed supply is fast becoming a defining story of our time.

Few things on Earth are as miraculous and vital as seeds, worshiped and treasured since the dawn of humankind. SEED: The Untold Story follows seed savers around the world fighting to protect our seed heritage. In the last century, 94% of our seed varieties have disappeared. As biotech chemical companies control the majority of our seeds, farmers, scientists, lawyers, and indigenous seed keepers fight a David and Goliath battle to defend the future of our food. In a harrowing and heartening story, these reluctant heroes rekindle a lost connection to our most treasured resource, and revive a culture connected to seeds. 

The film has already won 14 film festival awards in the US, where it was described as “the most essential, illuminating and enraging film since Food Inc.” Watch the trailer  and find out more about the film here.

Please note, this event is an advance ticket only event. Tickets will not be available on the door and must be purchased online in advance:  https://tickets.demand.film/event/1858 

SEEDTheUntoldStory_Theatrical_EPKv6_PDF_Page_01

SEED: The Untold Story

When: Sunday 3rd September, 1pm (film starts at 1.30pm)

Where: Whirled Cinema, 259-260 Hardess Street, Brixton, London SE24 0HN

Nearest buses from Brixton / Camberwell: 35, 45, 345, P4

Nearest train station: Loughborough Junction (Thames Link from Farringdon, Blackfriars or Elephant and Castle or from Sutton via Herne Hill) or 15 min walk from Brixton Station.

Screen Shot 2017-07-10 at 17.24.31

 

Connected Seeds and Sensors

I was very happy to be invited along to the Connected Seeds book launch and winter celebration at Rich Mix at the beginning of February. The event featured talks on seed sovereignty, food growing workshops and an exhibition and short-film screening about the Connected Seeds project. The main attraction of the day was the Connected Seeds Library, a new interactive seed library which tells the stories of seeds and their growers in and round Spitalfields City Farm. It was inspiring to connect with other London-based seed savers and to acquire new varieties for the seed bank including unfamiliar crops.

Connected Seeds and Sensors is research project looking at how ‘smart’ technologies can be used to support more sustainable urban food practices. The lead researcher, Sara Heitlinger, based at Queen Mary University London, worked with 14 Seed Guardians throughout the 2016 growing season to grow and save a variety of different seed crops and to record environmental data in each of the gardens.

The Seed Guardians were from all walks of life and different cultural backgrounds with varying levels of gardening expertise. They each committed to growing one or two crops and then donated some of the seeds they had collected to the Connected Seeds Library. The interactive seed library contains seeds from each of the guardians alongside photos, video footage and sounds clips about  the crops from the guardian who donated the seeds.

The guardians grew their crops in various growing spaces around East London, in private gardens, community plots or on housing estates. Each of the gardens was fitted with a specially-designed sensor to record information about the environmental conditions in the garden, including air temperature, air humidity, air pressure, soil moisture and ambient light. The data visualisations can all viewed online:

http://www.connectedseeds.org/data-visualisation/

The data clearly demonstrates the capacity of smart technologies to inform growers about the environmental conditions of their growing space. There is lots of potential to use this data to encourage better growing practices or to map different growing conditions across the capital.

The exhibition featured a seed swap where a variety of crops grown by the seed guardians and donated by other visitors to the event were available. I swapped some of our seeds from the London Freedom Seed Bank with lablab beans grown at Spitalfields Farm and potol, a kind of pointed gourd. I look forward to passing these seeds on to our freedom seed savers to grow and save so we can increase the quantity in the bank and make them accessible to other growers and gardeners.

We’re delighted that there’s another project which is collecting London’s seeds and the stories behind them, and we look forward to seeing how the interactive seed library grows over the coming months. The seed library can be found at its permanent home at Spitalfields City Farm. Get in touch with farm staff to organise a visit or become a member. http://www.connectedseeds.org.

Charlotte Dove

06.03.17

Next re-skilling training Saturday 25th April

Hello all,

There are a few spaces left on our next training with Peter Brinch of Open Pollinated Seeds.  It will be held next Saturday 25th April from 10.30 to 1.30pm at Regents Park Allotment.  The training will cover all aspects of seed saving with plenty of opportunity to ask questions.

Saturday 25th April at Regent’s Park Allotment

Trainer: Peter Brinch of Open Pollinated Seeds

Time: 10.30am-1.30pm

Venue: The Regent’s Park allotment garden is located in the middle of Regent’s Park itself, at the Corner of Chester Road and the Inner Circle, next to the park’s office. If using a GPS use the postcode NW1 4NR.

Email us at freedomseedbank@gmail.com if you would like to book a place.

In solidarity

London Freedom Seed Bank

droppedImage

Next workshops Saturday 11th April and Saturday 25th April

We hope you are enjoying the Spring so far!

Our first two trainings took place in mid-March and were well appreciated by everyone who attended.  Thank you to Charlotte Haworth who led the first training at Oasis Nature Garden in Stockwell.  Charlotte has posted an online version of the training on her blog, so please check out this excellent resource, complete with beautiful diagrams!   A big thanks also to Natalie Mady who was the trainer at Glengall Wharf Garden Seedy Sunday event.  Lots of seeds from the bank were distributed at the end of the trainings, and we are looking forward to celebrating the freedom seed savers as they return of some of this seed to the bank at our yearly festival towards the end of the year.

Our next trainings are listed below. There are still some spaces on both so email us at freedomseedbank@gmail.com if you would like to book a place:

 

Saturday 11th April at Keats Community Organics

Trainer: Jack Astbury

Time: 10.30am-1.30pm

Venue: Keats Community Organics, South London, DA16 3NB (nearest station Welling)

 

Saturday 25th April at Regent’s Park Allotment

Trainer: Peter Brinch of Open Pollinated Seeds

Time: 10.30am-1.30pm

Venue: The Regent’s Park allotment garden is located in the middle of Regent’s Park itself, at the Corner of Chester Road and the Inner Circle, next to the park’s office. If using a GPS use the postcode NW1 4NR.

This training is aimed at those with some experience of seed saving.

 

We look forward to seeing you!  Please email us if you have any questions.

In solidarity

London Freedom Seed Bank

 

Nathalie MadyCharlotte Haworth

Glengall Wharf Garden

Re-skilling workshops – Spring 2015

We are pleased to announce our upcoming workshops for this spring.   These workshops will provide you with the information necessary to start saving seed this year. We will cover choosing which varieties to save, considerations for avoiding cross-pollination, choosing which plants to select, and the practical aspects of saving seed from your plants. Growers and gardeners with no previous experience are welcome.

All workshops are FREE, and we will be distributing seed from the London Freedom Seed Bank at the end of the trainings to those who can commit to donate some of the seed back to the bank at the end of the growing season. This enables us to continue the cycle of redistribution next year.

The first two events in March are in collaboration with Oasis Nature Garden and Glengall Wharf Garden and do not require booking. For the April workshops we ask that you email us at freedomseedbank@gmail.com to book a place.

We would love to see you again if you have been on previous trainings at the London Freedom Seed Bank, especially if you have donated seed to the bank. If you are be interested in building on your current experience we would encourage you to attend the training on Saturday 25th April at Regent’s Park Allotment with Peter Brinch of Open Pollinated Seeds.

 

 Seed Swap  @ Oasis-page-001Saturday 21st March in collaboration with Oasis Nature Garden 

Trainer: Charlotte Haworth

Time: 1-4pm

Venue: Oasis Nature Garden on the corner of Larkhall Lane and Studley Rd, Stockwell, London, SW4 6SP

Tel: 020 7498 2329

oasisnaturegarden@gmail.com

Seedy Sunday 22nd March-2

Sunday 22nd March at Seedy Sunday Glengall Wharf Garden 

Time: 1-4pm

Trainer: Natalie Mady

Venue: Glenhall Wharf Garden, East end of Burgess Park, 64 Glengall Road, SE15 6NF

burgessfoodproject@gmail.com

 

Saturday 11th April at Keats Community Organics

Trainer: Jack Astbury

Time: 10.30am-1.30pm

Venue: Keats Community Organics, South London, DA16 3NB (nearest station Welling)

Please book at place by emailing us at freedomseedbank@gmail.com

 

Saturday 25th April at Regent’s Park Allotment

Trainer: Peter Brinch of Open Pollinated Seeds

Time: 10.30am-1.30pm

Venue: The Regent’s Park allotment garden is located in the middle of Regent’s Park itself, at the Corner of Chester Road and the Inner Circle, next to the park’s office. If using a GPS use the postcode NW1 4NR.

This training is aimed at those with some experience of seed saving.  Please book at place by emailing us at freedomseedbank@gmail.com

 

We look forward to seeing you!  Please email us if you have any questions.

In solidarity

London Freedom Seed Bank 

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Freedom Seed Bank

Trainings to be announced and upcoming events

 

IMG_1487Hello fellow seed savers,

With spring nearly here we’re kicking into gear at the London Freedom Seed Bank ready for the new growing season. We have been carrying out germination tests on the seed that was donated back to the bank by our freedom seed savers at our festival last October, in preparation to redistribute at this year’s trainings. These tests are being carried out at Growing Communities Dagenham Farm, where the bank is being stored (thank you to Alice Holden for space, help, and corner of a propagator). The dates of our trainings are in the process of being finalised so watch this space, we will be advertising them here shortly!

photo (2)In the meantime, we will be going to the Global Justice Now event tomorrow, Monday 23rd ‘What lies ahead? Pan Africanism: connecting and taking action for global justice’. It looks to be a great discussion – see you there if you can make it.

Please check out the upcoming community food growers network events here.

In solidarity

London Freedom Seed Bank

(Edit)

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!

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

Bring on the Weekend! * Programme for Saturday *

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The weekend is nearly here! We will be starting the day off on Saturday at the Great Seed Festival’s main hub in the Garden Museum so please come and say hello at our stall. You can download the 2-day programme and full list of events here.

Our London Freedom Seed Bank Festival, this year part of the Great Seed Festival will be kicking off at 5pm at the Battersea Barge, and we can’t wait to see you there! Doors will open at 4.30pm, please come early to guarantee entry. There will be food, and drinks to purchase at the bar.

The programme for the evening is as follows:

17:00          Music from KMT freedom teacher

17:30           Introduction to the London Freedom Seed Bank

17:45           Joe Duggan, poet

17:50           Mac MacCartney, speaker author, Embercombe founder

18:15           Jane Rabinowicz, Director of The Bauta Family Initiative on Canada Seed Security, USC Canada

18:45           Antony Melville, poet

19:00         London Freedom Seed Saver Ceremony conducted by Azul-Valerie Thome

19:30           Caroline David, songmaker

19:40           Next year at the London Freedom Seed Bank

20:00          Vibe Machine

21:00           The Muckers ceilidh band

23:00          Doors close

We look forward to seeing you!

CONTACT: Dawn: 07979852383 or Jack: 07776155498