The Dixon Foundation have provided The Gaia Foundation with an unrestricted grant in recognition of the fantastic work they do to build adaptation and resilience in our seed system. Producing and saving seed through ecologically sound and sustainable methods not only protects our agricultural heritage and biodiversity, it makes our food system more resilient, improves the condition of the land and benefits small scale farmers.
Gaia have chosen to direct the funds towards the second phase of their Seed Sovereignty programme, which supports existing and emerging small-scale growers and producers to increase their means of production, to connect with like-minded allies and customers, and to increase the genetic diversity being grown right here in the UK & Ireland.
In its first phase, the programme supported community groups, market gardeners and
farmers to train in seed production. It has significantly increased the availability of open pollinated sustainable seed in the UK and Ireland by:
– establishing 5 network hubs to inform, educate, and connect growers, community groups and crucial players in seed sovereignty
– Training 581 growers through Gaia’s training programmes. Almost 100 of whom now grow seed directly for sale by Gaia’s partner, the Real Seeds Catalogue.
Now in its second phase, the programme will:
– Support & Grow a Strong Community Seed Network: Providing dedicated support for 6 leading community seed organisations in order to understand the unique challenges that regionally diverse, community seed initiatives face, and use these learnings to support the wider community based networks of seed banks, libraries and community hubs into the future.
– Run Variety Trials and Provide Technical Support: Deliver a series of Variety Trials across diverse landscapes and record this regional data using the SeedLinkd app, which has been adapted from the US to the UK specifically for the Seed Sovereignty Programme.
– Conduct Research to Evidence our Work: Research into the Economic Viability of small-scale Seed Production in the UK, working with expert consultants in this field and providing further evidence and support for the existing and emerging small-scale independent seed producers Gaia is working alongside.
About The Gaia Foundation
The Gaia Foundation are a small, international organisation with 35 years’ experience accompanying partners, communities and movements around the world to revive and protect bio-cultural diversity. They take a holistic approach to regenerate healthy ecosystems and strengthen community self-governance.