Dear members and friends of the London Freedom Seed Bank,
Whether you’re new to seed saving, an established saver wanting to try out some new varieties, running a relevant community event, or keen on the politics of the seed trade, we’ve got it all for you this month.
First up, we’re excited to share with you a project which has been some time in the making. Last year, we teamed up with Global Generation for the Seeds For a Better World project. A key outcome of this collaboration is the London Mobile Seed Bank. A portable, interactive tool, the bank contains 20 of our favourite freedom seed varieties along with the stories of those who saved them. Artist-researcher duo Sara Heitlinger and Franc Purg made the bank with the Seed Sisters, young people working with Global Generation on seed politics and saving. The outcome is beautiful and has been enthusiastically received so far. We’ll be taking the bank to community events across London so get in touch if you’re hosting an event that might like it.
photo: global generation
Our featured variety this month is the experimental Bloody Marvel Lettuce. Bred by our own Richard Galpin in Walworth, South London, it is inspired by research Bloody Cos variety, also known as Spotted Aleppo which originated in Syria in the 18th Century. The parent plants for Bloody Marvel were Marvel of Four Seasons and Majan Jaguar, selected through the 2017 Walworth Lettuce Trials for their suitability for London growing conditions. They were then manually cross-pollinated and the resulting cross selected for desirable characteristics – resilience, red flecks of colour, vigour and taste. This is only the third generation and so plants will vary considerably. Community gardens are being asked to help trial this variety and report back on the results, in a collective effort to develop a new London variety. Get in touch if you’d like to trial the next generation.
photo: Richard Galpin
New to seed saving? Where to start?
If you are new to seed saving, but want to give it a go – it’s not too late for this growing season as some seeds can be saved from plants you are already growing for food. The easiest plants to save seeds are self-pollinated (the pollination happens within the plants’ own flowers, with no pollen being transported from another flower via wind or insects). Which means the seeds will grow to become a plant with the same characteristics as the parent plant – it comes ‘true to type’. So, the easiest plants to save seeds from are the following:
- French beans (not runner beans)
Initially grow just as you would for eating, and we’ll be posting more seed saving tips in the next newsletter, as the crops mature.
Reading on Seed
Here is our own Helene Schulze writing in Anthroposphere about some of her research into the UK seed saving scene:
“Fostering concern for seed preservation is essential for the potential thriving of human and non-human life on Earth. By supplementing national and international seed banking networks, individual and community seed saving initiatives are taking this important conservation work into their own hands. [They show us how] resistance to corporate domination and resilience to climate change play out on a smaller scale.”
You can read the full article here
That’s all from us for now. Stay tuned for the next events we’ll be attending and hosting and as ever, let us know if you’re growing out our varieties. We’d love to see your pictures and feedback!
London Freedom Seed Bank team