A ‘Growing Movement’...

Which would you rather hear at a community event?

“It’s all a big conspiracy. Large multi-nationals are trying to control what we eat!”

“Thank you for coming! Thank you for sharing your seeds and the stories behind them.”

The second one? Yes, so would I.

That’s because I believe that seed swaps aren’t about endless campaigns and political movements; they are about sharing, friendships and the excitement that comes from watching small seedlings grow into amazing, productive and beautiful plants. They are ‘growing movements’.

In the old days when the world was a much larger place, people used to grow everything locally and share seeds locally, passing on knowledge and improving varieties that became adapted to a specific area.

Today, we live in a smaller, connected world and food is produced globally in an attempt to feed everyone. Growing practices are different and the need for such a large variety of food plants is no longer commercially viable. This isn’t due to any conspiracy, but rather a consequence of our global economic environment; but that doesn’t mean we don’t have a choice.

Countless traditional varieties of plants exist in our back gardens and when we get together and swap seeds, we have the opportunity to grow them for our own pleasure. These varieties may not be considered uniform enough for commercial use any more, but when we only have ourselves to please we can take the time to appreciate them from a historical perspective, marvel at their many weird and wonderful names, and delight in the way they look, taste, smell and grow.

In essence, I believe that growing and sharing traditional varieties of seed:

  • connects us with our local community and cultural heritage
  • saves some wonderful locally adapted plants, as well as those that are no longer commercially produced
  • is sociable, friendly and fun!

And if you grow something today, you’ll always have a story to tell tomorrow…