Seed Swapping

It was Seedy Sunday here in Sussex and hundreds of people converged on Hove Town Hall to swap their unwanted seeds. It might sound a bit frugal and mean, but actually the reasoning behind Seedy Sunday is nothing to do with saving a few pennies and everything to do with saving seed varieties that the commercial seed companies don’t think are worth selling. Most gardeners just don’t realise that current EU legislation actually makes it illegal to sell or buy seeds from varieties which are not ‘listed'. Listing costs a lot of money, and takes a lot of time, and isn’t in the best interests of the seed companies who want to sell us fewer varieties of more expensive seeds: especially F1 hybrids from which the home grower can’t save seed to get a reliable offspring which has the same characteristics as the parent. This means that new seed must be bought every year, which is a pain in the bum for us, but a real drain on the financial resources of farmers in poorer parts of the world who are increasingly held hostage by the seed companies.

It’s not in our best interests to move to an F1 hybrid world, because many seed varieties are location specific: what grows brilliantly for me in Sussex could produce a rubbish crop in Hertfordshire or Humberside. That’s not really what seed companies are about, they want varieties that perform reliably across large areas of geography. If we lose those local varieties we don’t just lose their location specific performance, we also throw away their unique genetic make-up, which could be just what we need in ten or a hundred years time to combat a new disease or to improve a variety that’s unable to cope with global warming.

I swapped about forty packets of seed, ate cake, talked to loads of lovely growers, and spent exactly my entrance fee of £2. Total bargain!

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Posted by The Allotment Blogger on Wednesday, February 9, 2011


Anonymous allotments4you said...

wow...this sounds good. I've never hear of anything like this before but I am all for swapping seeds and keeping the old varieties going...I will have to see if anything like this is done in my area...glad you had a good day!!

February 9, 2011 at 9:57 AM  
Blogger The Allotment Blogger said...

Tanya, if there's nothing in your area, you can start one. Just google Seedy Sunday for details (or come down to my book launch on 22 March and swap there, we have a seed swap going on!)

February 15, 2011 at 9:27 AM  

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