Learn more about the why and how of seed saving this March.

For many people seeds symbolise life as all the food we eat relies on the humble seed. Because of this simple fact, seeds also symbolise power as those who control and own our seed ultimately control our food system. Saving your own seed can therefore be a very empowering act, and one that is currently important given there is no seed company producing seeds in our region.

For others a seed is a time capsule – providing hope for future harvests whilst connecting us to our ancestors and the many humans before us that have supported the slow process of adapting wild plants to those we know today.  As people saved, grew and saved seed year after year, plants adapted to local conditions (and our personal tastes!), and this led to a diversity of foods all over the world. From purple carrots in Afghanistan, we created orange carrot varieties that can be grown here in North Lancashire. Potatoes and a variety of beans traveled great distances from the high Andes to become a Lancashire staple, as have the relatives of tomatoes from Mexico. 

However, with the emergence of seed companies and the introduction of F1 hybrids by fertiliser companies in the 1900s, the tradition of seed saving has rapidly disappeared from many UK allotment sites, gardens and farms. This process of commercialising seed has resulted in the loss of around 75% of agricultural genetic diversity worldwide since the early 1900s. It has also led to increasing corporate control of our seed and food system.

We are now at a point where we are lacking a seed saving tradition in the North West of England and there is little access to sustainably grown seed in the UK. Only 3% of all seed available to grow on the UK market is organic.

For all these reasons (and more) Lancaster Seed Library is encouraging local gardeners, allotment growers and farmers to start re-saving and sharing open pollinated seed. 

To support you on your seed saving journey, the Lancaster Seed Library is running an ‘Intro to Seed Saving’ training session on Saturday 9 March 2024 1-5pm at the Friends Meeting House in Lancaster.  This intro to seed saving session will cover: why seed saving is important, what needs to be considered when growing plants for seed, basic plant biology, how to ensure seeds grow true to type, how to dry, process and store a range of seed types and where to go for more practice and support. 

Book your place here: www.trybooking.com/uk/DCCM


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