London’s seed savers mount a quiet revolution

Londoners are rising to the challenges of climate change, food poverty, entrenched inequality
and our nation’s mental and physical health crises by reviving one of the oldest human activities of allsowing, saving and sharing seeds.

The Gaia Foundation’s latest short film, A Quiet Revolution, profiles London’s urban seed and food growers who are members of the London Freedom Seed Bank, a network of more than 72 growers caring for over 120 seed varieties, many of which are rapidly adapting to London’s unique growing conditions.

“Food growing, as well as sharing food and eating together, cooking together, I think is probably the greatest tool in terms of breaking down barriers. It doesn’t matter whether you’re black, white, rich, poor, can’t speak English, speak English, whatever your age, it breaks down barriers”, says Dee Woods of Granville Community Kitchen in South Kilburn.

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Produced by award-winning photographer and filmmaker Andy Pilsbury, the 8-minute film gives growers and community activists like Dee a platform to share their work and explain why urban seed and food
networks, and the green spaces they maintain, matter to so many Londoners.

“Seed saving is a slow process, and it’s quite a meditative process that’s very different to the crazy, busy world out there. I think people really appreciate the chance to come here and just slow down, and just do something which is very focussed on being here”, says Charlotte Dove of Sydenham Community Gardens, a mental health charity in South London.

The Gaia Foundation’s Seed Sovereignty Programme is supporting urban seed networks across the UK (83% urban) and Ireland (64% urban) to grow, gain expertise and build resilient and diverse urban food webs.

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“These spaces and the seed networks that connect them give us the chance to grow crops that are most relevant to where we are; which are the most delicious and well-adapted to our local growing conditions.

That’s something that companies very far away just can’t offer us”, says Helene Schulze, Seed Sovereignty Programme Coordinator for London and South East England.

A Quiet Revolution was launched on 26th January 2022, during the UK and Ireland’s annual Seed Week, which highlights the dramatic loss of seed diversity worldwide and celebrates the work of growers and seed savers working to revive the diversity and resilience of our seed and food systems at a time of climate breakdown.

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View A Quiet Revolution

A Quiet Revolution
A Quiet Revolution (with subtitles)

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About the Author

Tony Flanagan
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