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

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

Line-up for the London Freedom Seed Bank Festival 2014

KMT
KMT

We are buzzing and excited to announce the performers for our festival on Saturday 11th October, at 5pm, at the Battersea Barge (SW8 5BP).  This year our London Freedom Seed Bank Festival will be part of the wider Great Seed Festival .

The London Freedom Seed Bank Festival will be kicking off with music from KMT freedom teacher aka Pollinator. KMT will be followed by poetry from local poets Joe Duggan and Antony Melville, and a performance from Caroline David.

As previously announced we are looking forward to hearing from our two inspiring speakers Mac Macartney, Embercombe founder, author and public speaker, and Jane Rabinowicz, Program Director of The Bauta Family Initiative on Canadian Seed Security.

Vibe Machine
Vibe Machine

The heart of the evening will be our ceremony to celebrate our London Freedom Seed Savers, during which they will donate their saved seed back to the bank. The founder of FOOD from the SKY and initiator of the London Freedom Seed Bank, Azul-Valerie Thome will be with us on the evening to vision, conduct, and oversee the ceremony.

We are thrilled to announce we will have live music from Vibe Machine with their infectious rhythms and considered rhymes! Vibe Machine will be followed by the fantastic Hackney-based band The Muckers, who will have everyone on their feet for a ceilidh to see the evening out!

We look forward to seeing you on October 11th. The program will start at 5pm with doors opening at 4.30pm. The event is not ticketed but there will be an opportunity to make a donation at the door.

The Muckers
The Muckers

Please arrive early to ensure entry.

This year we are proud to be part of The Great Seed Festival: Celebrating the Seeds that feed us.  Please visit the festival website for the full listing of events which will take place over the whole weekend, with fringe events throughout October. The Great Seed Festival is organised by food growing networks, seed and food justice organisations and individuals from across the UK, and coordinated by The Gaia Foundation, Beyond GM, Heritage Seed Library and the UK Food Group.

Bring on October and vive la Seed!

Festival leaflet 2014

London Freedom Seed Bank Festival – Saturday 11th October @ the Battersea Barge on the River Thames! 5pm ‘til late.

mandala lactuca_virosa_great_lettuce_seed_20-08-06

Last year we held a festival to celebrate and recognise those who had saved seed during the year. This included a ceremony, where growers donated some of their saved seed to the London Freedom Seed Bank.  The ceremony was accompanied by poetry, song, food, dance, and of course, the odd drink!  We passed this donated seed onto other growers who attended our trainings earlier this year.

It’s approaching festival time again, and will be holding this year’s celebrations as part of The Great Seed Festival  on Saturday 11th October on the Battersea Barge (SW8 5BP). The festival is open to all, so please join us for an evening of celebrating the seed that feeds us!

We are excited to announce that the evening will include talks from Mac Macartney, Founder of Embercombe, and Jane Rabinowicz, Director of the Seed Security Initiative from USC Canada. We will be updating our website with further information about the festival nearer the time.

So for now please save the date, and we look forward to seeing you in October!

London Freedom Seed Bank

Join us in Regent’s Park – Thursday 19th June @ 6pm

Dear all – PLEASE PASS ON the INVITATION to your networks!

For who is involved in the Freedom Seed Bank in London, for who want to get involved and/or want to be part of the creation of the Freedom Seed Bank Festival (part of the Great Seed Festival 11th-12th Oct 2014).

Julie very kindly is opening her garden in Regent’s Park for us all to meet up, to review, invite new comers and grow our contribution to the Great Seed Festival 11th-12th Oct 2014.

You are all warmly invited to join our next Freedom Seed Bank meeting:
Thursday 19th June
6pm to 9pm
MAP: the allotment garden in The Regent’s Park
Corner Of Chester And The Inner Circle
Next The Parks Office
NW14NR 

It would be helpful to know if you are coming? Email: freedomseedbank@gmail.com And also please bring a dish or a food contribution so we can top up our energy level together!

Vive la Seed!

There is so much going on with and for the Seed. Please do join us to take your stand for the Freedom of our Seeds as food growers, farmers and humans who care!
Freedom Seed Bank- POD
seeds SEEDS-heading Freedom Seed Bank Logo

Our first 2 re-skilling workshops on seed savings…great success!

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Peter Brinch from Open Pollinated Seed
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The day’s programme
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people committing to becoming a Freedom Seed Saver
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Brain storm for the 2014 festival
IMG_1490
DISTRIBUTION OF THE FREEDOM SEEDS

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1st February: Peter Brinch )Open Pollinated Seed) teaches our first 2014 re-skilling workshop at the Regent’s Park Allotment hosted by Julie.  Full house and fantastic day.  We had many food growers, activists, people who care,  and people came from Brussels to connect and feed back to their city.  We now have a ongoing contact as we are planning to echo each others Freedom Seed Festival 11th and 12th Oct 2014 .

 

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1st March 2014 – taught by Sally from the Heritage Seed Library hosted by the South Bank roof garden (inspired by FOOD from the SKY 🙂

The event was full again with various gardeners, growers and people who see Seed Saving as a stand for what is our Right.  Here are some photos of the day. Next re-skilling workshop in South East London on 30th March, booking essential with Jo: freedomseedbank@gmail.com

IMG_1892
SALLY FROM HERITAGE SEED LIBRARY
IMG_1889
Jo from Freedom Seed Bank
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Azul from Freedom Seed Bank
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THE Freedom Seed Bank
IMG_1852
South Bank Roof Garden inspired by FOOD from the SKY
IMG_1902
Guardian of the Seeds 🙂

IMG_1854 IMG_1859 IMG_1860 IMG_1863 IMG_1865 IMG_1870 IMG_1871 IMG_1873 IMG_1884IMG_1899 IMG_1900 IMG_1910 IMG_1913 IMG_1917

We are GROWING A WEBSITE this winter!

Dear all – this blog is not sufficient anymore so we are growing a new website!

growing a website

2013 has been AMAZING for the Freedom Seed Bank: We have grown fast and now need to regroup and create a fabulous website for 2014.  We will move from this blog to a new site that will contain and take us through the growth and seeding of the Freedom Seed Bank in 2014, the Festival 11-12th Oct 2014 and beyond.  Thank you all for your contributions and support!

 

 

 

2013 recap

FEB 2013:

Meeting with Vandana Shiva and Satish Kumar at Gaia Foundation. Vandana becomes a committed supporter and contributor

MARCH 2013

Re-skilling workshops offered by Open Pollinated Seeds and others

MAY 2013:

First re-skilling training to growers with Open Pollinated Seeds

JUNE 2013:

Re-skilling training

SEPT 2013:

Saving&Storing seeds workshop at FOOD from the SKY

OCT 2013: Our biggest month: A FESTIVAL , EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT and a COUNCIL MEETING with VANDANA SHIVA

5th Oct

The first Freedom Seed Bank Festival at Passing Cloud in Dalston welcoming 34 Freedom Seed Savers!

Seeds donated to the seed mandala
Seeds donated to the seed mandala
Brina singing her Seeds of Freedom song
Brina singing her Seeds of Freedom song
heresa from Gaia Foundation
Teresa from Gaia Foundation

Freedom Seed Bank

Seed savers donating seed
Seed savers donating seed
Azul
Azul
Abundance of seed
Abundance of seed
Caroline David leading 'Seed unto Seed'
Caroline David leading ‘Seed unto Seed’

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The first Freedom Seed Bank Festival at Passing Cloud in Dalston welcoming 34 Freedom Seed Savers!

17th Oct: Vandana Shiva and seed savers, food growers and other people interested in food and seed sovereignty gathered in a deep conversation that led to action and commitment from different people present.

Azul-Valerie Thome and Vandana Shiva 2 women 'seeding' the change they want to see in our world...
Azul-Valerie Thome and Vandana Shiva 2 women ‘seeding’ the change they want to see in our world…

IMG_0465

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Azul-Valerie Thome at the European Parliament in Brussels
Azul-Valerie Thome at the European Parliament in Brussels

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

NOV 2013

30th Nov 

Meeting at the Regent’s Park allotment to re-skill and raise awareness, plan Festival 2014 as well as growing our network.

IMG_0711
Pod forming for the Festival 2014
Freedom Seed Bank mind map
Mind Map

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

DEC 2013:

5th Dec: Organised meeting with Gaia Foundation, A Team Foundation: What do you think about the Freedom Seed Bank idea?  What initiative are you working on in 2014?  Would you like to be involved in the Festival and in what capacity?

Guests attending

  • Freedom Seed Bank
  • A Team Foundation
  • Gaia Foundation
  • Soil Association
  • Enlightened Agriculture
  • UK food Ltd.
  • GM free campaign
  • Seed Freedom
  • South Bank Roof Garden
  • Sustain

Fabulous outcome, resume and collective mind map of the meeting available!

NEXT MEETING on 1st FEBRUARY 2014

STAY CONNECTED WE WILL LET YOU KNOW OF OUR NEW WEBSITE 🙂 

We wish you all a very warm and restful winter celebrations to give you support&strength for next year!

In solidarity

Azul and Freedom Seed Bank Pod 

 

NEXT Freedom Seed Bank FESTIVAL POD meeting on 30th November

Calling for ARTISTS, PERFORMERS, FILM MAKERS, CARTOONISTS, SINGERS, POETS, MUSICIANS, DEEP ACTIVISTS, PERMACULTURISTS, TRANSITIONISTS, INSPIRED SPEAKERS and other CREATIVE PEOPLE to be part of the Freedom Seed Bank POD who will bring the next Freedom Seed Bank FESTIVAL OCT 2014 (11th and 12th OCT?) with Vandana ShivaThe Gaia FoundationFOOD from the SKYCapital Growth , End Ecocide In Europe, and many more.
The creative POD will take forward the vision of our SEED, our FOOD and our FREEDOM to a different level by INSPIRING, TOUCHING and MOVING people from all part of our communities in a FESTIVAL inspired, moved and touched by the Seed and for the Seed. Without the Seed and our FOOD being freely protected, saved and grown our lives will not be ours, as simple as that!

Seed POD call
In the last 12 months we have seen and welcomed many artists who have been inspired by the seed to create songs, poems and sacred spaces of celebration while taking a stand for what is respecting Life. When we met with Vandana Shiva on the 13thOct I stepped in and declared that the next big Celebration will be between the birth of Gandhi (2nd Oct) and the World Food day (16th Oct). and that is will be at SOUTH BANK by the river and the spine of our City. Since then I went to Brussels to speak at the European Parliament and was also invited to speak at the Urban ecology centre (Brussels) where a seed was planted! They will also in solidarity with us and with the Seed Seed Freedom, host a Freedom Seed Bank FESTIVAL in Brussels.

Saturday 30th November

1pm to 4pm

“The Regent’s Park allotment garden is located at the Corner of Chester and the Inner Circle, next the park’s office. If using a GPS use the postcode NW1 4NR.”

So if you are at all moved by the call contact us and join our next meeting in London on Sat 30th Nov : freedomseedbank@gmail.com we will send you more details.

In solidarity

2 URGENT ACTIONS TO TAKE to protect our seeds before the 4th December!!!

(1) WRITING TO THE 3 KEY MEPS

There are 3 MEPs directly involved with the law who are really worth writing to:
(be nice to them though, it wasn’t their idea)

Sergio Silvestris: Rapporteur of the Committee for Agriculture and Rural Development
(he is chairing the making of the new law)

sergio.silvestris@europarl.europa.eu

George LYON (United Kingdom) – Group of the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe – ALDE

george.lyon@europarl.europa.eu

Julie GIRLING (United Kingdom) – European Conservatives and Reformists – ECR

julie.girling@europarl.europa.eu

You can send the same email to all three of them. This is probably the key thing to do.
Here is an example – though it is better to put things into your own words.

Dear Mr Silvestris/ Mr Lyon / Ms Girling

Subject: Proposed new EU Plant Reproductive Material law

I am writing to you because I am worried about the proposed new law regulating the sale of seeds within the European Union.

Home gardeners have very different needs from farmers and larger scale growers. The law as it is currently drafted does not take account of this difference, and will result in far less choice of varieties suitable for gardeners.

I realise there are some exceptions allowed in the law for ‘niche market’ varieties, but these are much too limited.

This law is being described as for ‘consumer protection’ but there are no problems as things stand with home garden seed that we need protecting from. The new law will hugely reduce our choice of plants to grow. This is unreasonable given that it will not benefit us in any way.

It is not appropriate for seeds sold in small packets for individual gardeners to be regulated in the same way as seeds for commercial agriculture, and as a gardener, I do not want to be limited to growing varieties of vegetable developed for a completely different type of growing.

Home gardeners should be able to choose any vegetable variety they want to grow, in a free market, and not be restricted to a list of ‘approved’ varieties. Agriculture in the EU is a major business. Individual citizens’ gardens and allotments are a completely different sector, and don’t need the same degree of regulation.

I would ask you to change the draft law so that home garden seeds and plants are not covered by the new law.

I would be grateful for a reply to this letter

Yours sincerely

[your name]

 

(2) RESPONDING TO THE UK GOVERNMENT CONSULTATION
ABOUT TAKING EU LAWS BACK INTO UK CONTROL

The UK government have just started a consultation asking people what things should be covered by EU laws, and what should be decided at national level.
The consultation about agriculture is happening now.   We are asking as many people as possible to respond, and say that garden plants and garden seeds should NOT be covered by EU regulation, but instead controlled by UK laws.

DEFRA have a page of information about the consultation here: https://consult.defra.gov.uk/eu/boc-agriculture

And then the actual consultation – the bit to fill in – is here: https://consult.defra.gov.uk/eu/boc-agriculture/consultation

What to fill in?

NOTE: You don’t have to answer ALL of the questions on the form – just one is fine.

You could just make one brief point in 
Question 5 (in the section ‘EU Competence for Agriculture’)
:

We feel that the EU should not have competence for (that is, they shouldn’t make decisions about) Plant Reproductive Material(that is, seeds) intended for gardeners.
Agriculture in the UK (and the rest of the EU) is a major business. Individual citizens’ gardens and allotments are a completely different sector, and don’t require strict EU-level regulation.

You’ll need to put this in your own words, but the point to make to them is that it is not appropriate for UK gardeners to be regulated by the EU as if they were farmers, and that they have very different needs.  Garden plants and seeds should not be regulated in the same way as cereals and potatoes grown on hundreds of acres.

Help reading the background material to the consultation:

If you don’t want to read all the way through the DEFRA ‘Call for Evidence’ document, the key part relating to Plant Reproductive Material (= “seeds and cuttings” to most of us) is on page 20, paragraph 49.

Here is what DEFRA say there, explaining the current situation:

“Marketing of plant reproductive material is regulated by a number of EU directives.  These are consumer protection measures which set out the quality and identity requirements which seed and other plant reproductive material must meet before it may be marketed.  The objectives include encouraging the breeding and uptake of improved varieties, assuring seed quality for safe, reliable and environmentally efficient food production, and facilitating international trade.  The Directives also cover the marketing of ornamental plant material.  In recent years simpler requirements have been agreed for conservation varieties and varieties with no intrinsic value for commercial crop production eg varieties intended for gardeners.

We have marked the final sentence in bold –   These simpler regulations for garden seed are what the new EU Seed Law will abolish. This is what you need to comment on in Question 5 – Seed Regulation for home gardeners needs to be brought back into UK control.

If enough people fill in the survey, it is possible that the Seed Laws will be brought back to UK control!