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Practice and Politics of Seed Saving 
A days workshop that will bring you up to speed with the practicalities of seed saving as well as the historical roots and contemporary political situation of this key agricultural practice. 

Seed Saving 

Every vegetable and plant we grow wants to produce seed, and yet seed growing is only done by a very few growers across the country. With so much of our food and seed autonomy under threat now is the time to regain an understanding of seed.


This is a workshop and skill share aimed at helping gardeners and growers understand more about saving seed on a small to medium scale.

During the day we will explore:
– Theory and principles of saving seed and choosing crops for seed
– Politics of seed saving, why it is important and organising for seed sovereignty
– Practical sessions
– Factors that influence seed quality
The practical session will be led by Ashley Wheeler of Trill Farm, a professional market gardener who has been growing at Trill Farm for 5 years. During his time at Trill he has been saving seed for herb, vegetable and salad crops and has been instrumental in establishing the group, the South West Seed Savers. The political session will be led by Humphrey Lloyd and Lynne Davis who are both growers and activists with the Landworkers Allaince. 
Wednesday the 30th of September 10am-3pm
The Edible Futures packing shed Feed Bristol, Frenchay Park rd, BS16 1HB
£15 for members of the Landworkers Alliance.
£25 for non-members. (Membership will be available on the day should you wish to join.)
Please get in touch if the cost is prohibitive.
Humphrey Lloyd 07702810555


Landworkers Alliance in Wales Skillshare and Networking event

Friday 4 Sept – Saturday 5 Sept 2015

A chance for landworkers from Wales and the west to get together and exchange skills and ideas.

The weekend is based at Real Seeds in Pembrokeshire, and will include sessions on:

– Developing a Landworkers Alliance presence in Wales,
– Practical seedsaving for commercial vegetable growers led by Kate from Real Seeds
– Tools and techniques – a forum to exchange ideas
– Tours of Troed y Rhiw organic farm and Real Seeds

Cost for the weekend will be a maximum of £20 including camping and meals  (it may work out a bit less depending on numbers)

We’ve got room for a maximum of 25 participants due to space limitations.   Please email if you’d like to come or for any more info.

Location is:  SA42 0QF, near Newport, Pembrokeshire   Public transport options are pretty good, nearest rail is Fishguard & Goodwick or Haverfordwest, then the T5 bus hourly to Newport.  Alternatively from the north look for the T5 bus from Aberystwyth

More information about the Landworkers Alliance at, Troed y Rhiw farm at and Real Seeds at

NB:  The event is open to members of the LWA – but you can sign up on the day!

Membership information here:

SWSSC april 26 £10 001For thousands of years farmers all over the world have been creating, preserving and renewing seed diversity by breeding and saving from the plants in their fields.  The diversity of agricultural seeds and the freedom of farming communities to have control over them is fundamental to food sovereignty – “The right of communities to define their own food and farming systems”.

seed embercombe 1

What is the South West Seed Savers’ Cooperative (SWSSC)?

  The SWSSC was launched in October 2014 at an event organised by The Landworkers’ Alliance and The Soil Association. The event brought together growers and farmers to talk about the lost skill of seed-saving in the context of the current legislation. We enjoyed discussions and talks by Peter Brinch of Open Pollinated Seeds and Kate McEvoy of The Real Seed Catalogue and a practical seed saving session with Kate. The SWSSC was born with the help of everyone present. In response to huge global losses in biodiversity, legislation that supports corporate control of seed varieties and a great erosion in the fundamental skills of saving seeds in the UK, this network aims to build a community of growers across the region who save and share high quality, locally adapted seeds with each other, thus keeping alive essential knowledge and important seed diversity, both of which are a priceless inheritance from our ancestors, and such an important gift to our children.

See our article about the seed network in our article in The Ecologist.


How does it work?

Any farmer or grower who is interested in saving at least one variety of seed can join the SWSSC and in doing so commits to saving the variety or varieties that they have stated. With the help of workshops and gatherings, as well as forum space to discuss seed saving techniques, members will regain the skill of seed-saving. In doing so they will gradually breed locally adapted varieties and by sharing the saved seeds with other members each grower will go into the growing season with many varieties of seed that have been saved by other local farmers and growers.

So, if you are interested in saving your own seed, but feel that you do not have time to save more than one or two varieties, or feel that you do not have the skills, join the cooperative, learn how to save seed and benefit from other peoples’ saved seeds too.


Joining the SWSSC


If you are a farmer or grower and interested in joining the SWSSC please contact us using the form below and we will endeavour to get back to you soon with more information about getting involved.

Your Name (required)

Your Email (required)


Address (required)

Would you like to be added to the mailing list?

Size of growing area


Which seed varieties would you be interested in committing to save for the coop?

Good resources for seed savers


The Seed Savers’ Handbook, By Jeremy Cherfas, Michel & Jude Fanton

Grovers  Books UK.  ISBN 1-899233-01-6…1996

Seed to Seed, By  Suzanne Ashworth

Seed Saver Publications.  ISBN 0-9613977-7-2

Back Garden Seed Saving, Keeping Our Vegetable Heritage Alive, By Sue stickland

eco-logic books, Bristol. ISBN 1 899233 09 1

Breed Your Own Vegetable Varieties, By Carol Deppe Chelsea Green Pub Co; ISBN: 1890132721

The Organic Seed Grower: A Farmer’s Guide to Vegetable Seed Production, by John Navazio  (ISBN: 9781933392776)


Saving our Seeds – although written for US seed savers, there is some great technical information about seed saving available on this website. Includes isolation distances, processing and storage and specific crop information.

Organic Seed Alliance – large number of publications ranging from preventing loss of seed crop from adverse weather to experimental design for on farm seed trials.

Real Seed Catalogue – a great small seed company producing only open pollinated seeds. Much information on seed saving on the website (scroll down to find “How to Save Seed” amongst other great gems of advice). Great open source design for seed cleaning machine too.

Open Pollinated Seeds Initiative – raising awareness of the importance of open pollinated seeds, since their demise in recent history. Good general information about open pollinated seeds and a good list of further resources.