Seed Saving in South London – Tues 20th Nov.

We warmly invite you to join us for a Seed Saving Evening at the South London Botanical Institute on Tuesday 20th November from 6.30-9pm.

We will be screening the Seeds of Freedom documentary, sharing top tips on how to start saving, and hearing from Richard Galpin about his experience breeding new lettuce varieties. Richard will also be demonstrating his DIY Seed Cleaner, built using an Open Source design on the Real Seeds website – come and see it in action!

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For tickets, please go to the Eventbrite page.

We are happy to be collaborating with Incredible Edible Lambeth and the South London Botanical Institute on this event.

Skip Garden Harvest Festival, 22nd September

Join us at the Skip Garden on Saturday 22nd September for their Harvest Festival. Come and celebrate the bountiful harvest and learn about seed saving at this time of year too. Enjoy a delicious afternoon tea prepared by the wonderful community kitchen, stalls packed full of homemade produce, and drop-in activities to keep the littles ones busy.

Tours of the garden will be taking place throughout the afternoon, lead by the Skip Garden’s Seed Sisters, a group of young women dedicated to raising awareness about seed saving and heritage.

Charlotte from the Freedom Seed Bank will be sharing her knowledge about the theory and practice of seed saving, and seeds from the bank will be available for people to take home for free.

Tickets are FREE but must be reserved in advance, here: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/skip-garden-harvest-festival-tickets-49328257145

We hope to see you there!

 

 

 

How to start seed saving workshop – 1st Sep

Come and learn about the basics of saving your own seed with Charlotte Dove from the London Freedom Seed Bank, on Saturday 1st September at The Albany in Deptford. 

Learn the basics of saving your own seed from common vegetables, herbs and flowers. Saving seed is a great way to become more self-sufficient, to save money and to grow healthier, more vigorous crops which are adapted to your local environment.

You will learn top tips for saving and storing your seeds correctly and have a go at some practical seed saving activities.

Seeds from the London Freedom Seed Bank, grown and saved in London, will also be available for you to take home for free.

TO BOOK TICKETS 

https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/how-to-start-seed-saving-growing-saving-and-sharing-tickets-46356289911

New network members get skilled up

Our network of seed savers grow seeds to donate to the Freedom Seed Bank each year. This year we recruited 20 new members to join the network, all of whom have experience gardening and growing food, but haven’t necessarily saved seeds before. Earlier in the month we held a training session focussed on pollination and its role in successful seed saving to bring the new network members up to speed on this important topic.

We invited Peter Brinch of Open-Pollinated Seeds to lead the session. Peter has been working in the world of seeds since 2001 and currently grows vegetable and flower seeds for the Seed Co-operative. He spoke about the history of seed saving, before looking in more detail at the difference between self-pollinating and cross-pollinating crops and why it’s important to recognise which you’re growing before saving any seed.

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Peter with his DIY Seed Cleaner (an Open Source design available at Real Seeds).

Check out the full range of open-pollinated, organic and biodynamic seeds available from the Seed Co-operative: download the catalogue.

Deadline to join network extended by 1 week!

We have extended the deadline to apply to become a member of the Freedom Seed Saver Network by one week. The new deadline is Sunday 3rd December.

New members will gain access to FREE training sessions taking place in early 2018, peer-to-peer support from our network of seed savers, and seeds from the Freedom Seed Bank.

More details here: https://londonfreedomseedbank.wordpress.com/2017/10/04/join-our-seed-saver-network/

If you are interested in applying please send an expression of interest explaining about yourself and why you are interested in taking part to: freedomseedbank@gmail.com

We hope to hear from you!

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.

Introduction to Seed Saving

We’re delighted that seed buddy Marco Bottingnole has been invited to lead a seed saving workshop by London’s largest food growing network and training provider, Capital Growth. Marco has been a seed buddy since October 2016 and has been inspiring the community around the St Luke’s Community Centre in Islington about the importance of seed saving.

Introduction to Seed Saving will cover the basic techniques of growing, collecting and storing seeds from a plant. The workshop will include:

– The importance of the ancient practice of saving seeds

– The difference between plant families, species and varieties. What is a hybrid?

– Seed saving guidelines for different species of plants

– Seed saving practical session

The workshop is open to everyone and no prior gardening experience is required.

When: Saturday 14th October 10:30-13:00

Where: St Lukes Community Centre, 90 Central, London EC1V 8AJ

To book your ticket go to: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/introduction-to-seed-saving-tickets-35428061285

Seeds for a Better World

We are delighted to be working with Global Generation and Garden Organic on a new project, Seeds for a Better World, with support from the Heritage Lottery Fund.

Seeds for a Better World aims to connect to and give back to our natural heritage by educating and inspiring young people and other London residents to learn about the cycle of growing and saving seeds. We will be:

  • working with a team of Youth Ambassadors to unearth the memories of immigrant communities in the Kings Cross area about vegetable varieties and growing traditions from home
  • creating new community seed gardens and a mobile interactive seed bank to take heritage seeds and the stories of those who grew them to new audiences
  • holding a Seed Festival to bring together diverse groups of people to swap seeds and learn from each other

The project kicks off in September when the Youth Ambassadors take a visit to Garden Organic’s Heritage Seed Library to gain inspiration from their collection of over 800 heritage varieties. The Seed Festival in January 2018 will include a Seed Swap, seed-themed cooking, food and creative workshops, such as making seed charms and jewellery. Activities will continue throughout 2018.

The project will inform participants about the heritage of cultivated vegetable varieties and how they are being threatened by industrial agriculture. Participants will also learn traditional seed saving skills and understand their importance in conserving open-pollinated vegetable varieties for future generations.

Seed diversity across the globe is more severely threatened than ever before. There couldn’t be a better to time to embark on this exciting project.

 

 

 

Seed saving support for community gardens

The Freedom Seed Bank and Capital Growth have trained a team of Seed Buddies in the art of seed saving. Now we are looking for community or school garden groups who are interested in receiving help and guidance to start saving seeds. Participating gardens will be matched with a Seed Buddy, ideally from your local area.

A trained Seed Buddy will visit your garden at least twice over the 2017 growing season and will help you to come up with a plan for how to incorporate seed saving. They will offer practical advice about which crops to save seeds from and how to get the best seeds.

Your Seed Buddy will provide you with FREE SEEDS from the London Freedom Seed Bank and you will be offered the opportunity to donate seeds back to the bank at the end of the growing season.

To sign up for a buddy, just complete this simple form:

http://www.capitalgrowth.org/buddy_scheme/

Threshing and winnowing at OrganicLea

On Sunday, a group of Seed Buddies from our 2016 training programme, attended a seed saving workshop at OrganicLea, a thriving market garden in the Lea Valley. A worker’s co-operative, they run a box scheme, grow seedlings for sale, and save a range of vegetable seeds mainly for their own use on site. It seemed like a great place to go and learn about seed saving from growers who have integrated the techniques in to their everyday practice.

Head grower Ru gave a short talk on practical aspects of saving vegetable seed – how to recognise when a crop is ready for harvesting and how to dry the seeds. Then we got going on the main part of the day – threshing and winnowing dried crops in order to extract the seeds. Seed saving uses a utilitarian assortment of tools. The first to catch our attention was a home-made, badly-worn wooden club. This was used with some abandon to bash large paper bags of dried plant matter to start the process of separating the seeds from their pods. The process continued with some finer sorting using kitchen colanders, nimble fingers and good old-fashioned blowing to extract the precious seeds from the lightweight chaff. In the end, we filled a dozen or so brown paper bags with the booty – chicory, amaranth, leaf celery and coriander seeds, amongst others – all beautifully cleaned and dried and ready for sowing again next spring.

Ru donated two new varieties to the Freedom Seed Bank: Amaranth ‘Latte’, a variety originally collected from a Pakistani women in Leyton: and, Grandpa’s Cress, a fast-growing, small-leaf cress, obtained from the Heritage Seed Library. The Seed Buddies will be growing both of these varieties in community spaces across London next year.

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