Seed Buddies programme takes root

The Seed Buddies programme launched with a successful training day at the Regent’s Park Allotment Garden in October 2016. The day was attended by 18 food growers and gardeners from across London who have been selected to be the next generation of seed savers for the Freedom Seed Bank.

The training was delivered by seed officer, Catrina Fenton, and horticulturalist Claire Pritchard, from the Heritage Seed Library (HSL). They covered the basic principles of successful seed saving, and gave practical advice about saving the seed of a range of different crops, from easy-to-save peas and beans, to those at the more challenging end of the spectrum, such as carrots and beetroot.

The trainees come from different backgrounds, including urban gardening, landscaping and design, and are all committed to improving their horticultural skills and educating Londoners about the lost art of seed saving. Many are already working with environmental and community-based organisations such as Bandstand Beds, St Lukes Community Centre in Islington, and Stepney City Farm, and will be disseminating their newly-acquired seed saving knowledge amongst their existing networks.

The Seed Buddies will be matched with community gardens in their local area, and over the next year, will support their gardens to start seed saving. By working with community spaces, the Seed Buddies aim to raise awareness about the importance of protecting our seed heritage whilst also passing on practical advice and skills. All of the gardens which are involved will be invited to donate seeds to the Freedom Seed Bank at the end of next year.

Capital Growth will be matching Seed Buddies to community gardens over the coming months. If you are part of a community garden, or know one that would be interested in receiving a visit, then please make sure you register your interest here: http://www.capitalgrowth.org/buddy_scheme/

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

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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

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

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

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
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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

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

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Will the European Parliament close the few openings the Commission left in favor of farmers seeds and biodiversity ?

FYI – A press release from the European Co-ordination of la Via Campesina in response to the Silvestres report on the ongoing plant reproductive materials proposal.

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Will the European Parliament close the few openings the Commission left in favor of farmers seeds and biodiversity ?

In its report on the new “seed marketing” regulation, deputy Sergio Silvestris proposes to the European Parliament to reinforce all measures that give a handful of multinational corporations total control of the seed market.
Enclosing biodiversity and farmers rights within more and more narrowly defined bureaucratic niches, strengthening the process whereby seeds are being confiscated by industrial property rights

If the parliament follows the recommendations of the Silvestris report, all farmers who produce seeds for their own crops, i.e. not to be put on the market, will have to declare this activity to the administration and will have to maintain and keep available detailed records of all seed exchanges with colleagues. Those who produce farm-saved seeds will have to comply with the obligations imposed on commercial seed production, which will make production too expensive, or even impossible for most crops. The industry will have access to the administrative list of farm-saved seed producers1. It may well impose the payment of royalties, or pursue for infringement any person who reproduces seeds from a variety protected by a Plant Breeder Right, which is to say almost all of the commercial offer.

While the Commission proposes allowing micro-enterprises to market seeds from varieties not included in the catalog, the Silvestris report wants to restore mandatory registration of all varieties in the catalog. This requirement would eliminate hundreds of thousands of available varieties that cannot comply with the standards and the bureaucratic and financial obligations entailed by the catalog. Today more than ever, farmers and gardeners need access to all this diversity, in order to do away with chemical inputs, adapt to climate change and provide tasty, healthy, high quality and nutritious food.

In response to the legitimate demands of organic and peasant farmers who cannot work only with seeds conforming to the catalog standards, the Commission has seized the occasion to propose opening the market to certain “heterogeneous material”, which can therefore be patented. The Silvestris report does not refuse these patented seeds, which will generalize genetic contamination and the ownership of all commercial or farmers seeds which are today still free of intellectual property rights.

Finally, the report proposes to limit to one year the period of emergency measures necessary to forbid seeds that generate significant health or environmental risk even though experience regularly shows that much more than a year is necessary to present indisputable scientific evidence of risk, a fact which is widely recognized.

Strengthening multinational corporation control over the seed market

The report wants to remove the exemption of payment for the registration fee by micro-enterprises proposed by the Commission, whereas this exemption would facilitate the necessary return of greater diversity in the market and in the fields. On the contrary, it maintains this possibility only for large companies who can afford to replace the tests for registration and official public controls by a simple validation of their own tests and internal controls. Such self-control under official supervision encourages widespread fraud as shown, among many others, by the recent scandal of horse meat being sold as beef.

Therefore ECVC calls on the MEP:


– To strengthen the rights of farmers to use, exchange and sell their seeds to protect them from genetic contamination and biopiracy, and to provide full access to all freely reproducible seeds


– To maintain and improve the openings of the European Commission’s proposals that go in this direction,


– To reject the widespread trade of patented and genetically engineered seeds,


– To reject the privatization of market control for the sole benefit of multinationals, and instead implement fully transparent proportionate public control, open to participatory collective guarantee systems , not to internal controls whose confidentiality feeds the spreading of fraudulent activities.