Massive Seed Swap Keeps Biodiversity Growing

seedy sunday seed swap photo

Image credit: Seedy Sunday

I guess spring really is on its way. From collecting fruit tree scions to community-run seed libraries to seed libraries in libraries, biodiversity in the garden seems to be a hot topic right now. I've just come across a story about what might just be the mother of all seed swaps. Based in Brighton, England, Seedy Sunday is an annual event that claims to have "blazed the trail for UK seed swaps over the past decade". Held on the first Sunday of February every year, the seed swap attracts well over 1000 visitors who, in return for a donation or in exchange for seed they have saved, can choose seeds from dozens of traditional varieties of garden vegetables to take home and grow.

Seed Swapping as Protest Movement
Although the physical conservation and evolution of cherished seed varieties is a crucial part of the event, Seedy Sunday is also about education and fun, and it is an opportunity for gardeners to protest at the corporatization of the world's seed supply. Peter Giovannini talks about his experiences of Seedy Sunday, painting a picture of gardeners struggling against the systemic "outlawing" of non-approved seed varieties because of European Union legislation:

"The industrialisation of agriculture has caused an erosion of the diversity of crop varieties. Agrobiodiversity is declining at an alarming rate because growers are increasingly relying on purchased seeds, and the dynamic process that produces and conserves agrobiodiversity has been suddenly interrupted. EU seed marketing regulations have also contributed to this decline by imposing criteria for the commercialisation of seed varieties that are rarely met by locally adapted varieties or landraces. Indeed, seed swappers refer to the seed varieties that are not admitted in the national official lists, which list the varieties that can be sold, as "outlawed"."

The next Seedy Sunday is only just over a week away. Get your garden plan ready.

More on Seed Swapping and Biodiversity in the Garden
A Community-Run Seed Library: Shouldn't Every Library Loan Seeds? (Video)
How to Collect Scions for Growing Rare Fruit (Video)
Growing Apple Trees from Seed
Untouchable Organic Seed Bank: Saving Seeds and Empowering Women
Saving Seeds is Critical to Fighting Climate Change
Seed Libraries Prove Tough to Sprout
Massive Russian Seed Bank at Risk of Demolition

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