Contact: Helen Gray or Julian Vayne, 24 Torrington Lane, East-the-Water,
Bideford, Devon EX39 4EP Tel: 01237 424029
The* FOURTH* North Devon Seed Swap will be held on Sunday 11th February
2007 at Tapeley Park 10am-1pm, Nr Instow.
Bring some seeds to swap * heritage varieties * Cafe * information *
demonstrations * fun!
It doesn't matter if you don't have any seeds to bring, come along, get
some for free and bring them back to next years swap!
Our venue is inside the lovely Tapeley Barn, with cafe and log fire!
/>> DEAR GARDENERS - we used up ALL of our seeds last year, so if you'd
like to donate some seeds in advance of the next swap we'd be really
thanks for your support
Organisers Helen Gray and Julian Vayne are sending out a call to local
gardeners and suppliers of organic plants and seeds to come along. Entry
to the event is free and the Seed Swap team are keen to encourage any
groups who would like a stall at the event to come forward. "Payment for
stalls will be in kind or seed, not cash" explained Julian Vayne.
"The idea of a seed swap is to encourage people to grow local and
heritage varieties of plants and vegetables" explained Helen Gray. "Over
the years we have lost something like 90% of our traditional varieties
of vegetables. International seed firms and, EU and copy write law have
helped reduced this diversity. Go into your average supermarket and
you're likely to see just one or two types of tomatoes on sale at the
most. Even 50 years ago there were hundreds of varieties. We are asking
gardeners to send us seeds that they have saved from their own plants.
Some of these may well turn out to be little known and wonderful local
varieties. At the Seed Swap we will be giving seeds away to other
gardeners to ensure that vegetable and plant variety doesn't become a
thing of the past."
This is a very practical way that people can help the planet, protect
the heritage of Devon and end up with some succulent veggies on their
The Seed Swap team are also asking for seeds to be sent in advance of
the event to 'start the ball rolling'; these will be given away on the
day. Seed is best if it is labelled with the year it was collected, the
type of plant and the name of the variety if it is known. If you would
like to contribute to the Seed Swap please send seed to: North Devon
Seed Swap, 24 Torrington Lane, East-the-Water, Bideford EX39 4EP. For
more information about the North Devon Seed Swap please send an SAE to
that address or see_ < <http://seedswap.mysite.wanadoo-members.co.uk/
*Why is Swapping Seeds Important?*
According to The Plant Varieties and Seeds Act (1964), anyone wanting to
sell the seeds of a fruit or vegetable must first register the variety
on a National List. Before registration, it must be tested to ensure it
is "distinct, uniform and stable", and a fee must be paid. Sadly for
amateur growers, these fees add up to nearly £1,000, in the case of
tomatoes, plus an annual renewal fee of £185, for every single strain.
There are no exceptions, no grants for amateur growers, and it is
illegal for anyone to sell the seeds of unregistered fruit or, by
implication, the fruit itself.
Even if they can pass the tests then generally the only companies who
can afford to register them are huge companies that sell to supermarket
chains the result is that only mass-market, supermarket-friendly
varieties are registered. Varieties of interest only to amateurs are
ignored, and it becomes illegal to sell them; so, with no growing plants
providing seeds for the future, they're simply becoming extinct. There
are however, a few small seed companies battling it out with the big
boys, Suffolk Herbs, and Future Foods being two examples.
This matters for a very practical reason. Diversity of species
(whether vegetable or cereal) is one of the main protections against
disease. If a gardener is growing all one type of tomato, for
example, and disease strikes, it can wipe out their crop. If however,
they were growing a mixture of tomatoes then the disease may destroy one
or two varieties, but not all. Genetic diversity is the key to food
security. This goes as much for the large scale farmer as it does for
the allotment gardener.
Plants for a Future: 7000 useful plants
Post: 1 Lerryn View, Lerryn, Lostwithiel, Cornwall, PL22 0QJ
Tel: 01208 872 963
PFAF electronic mailing list http://groups.yahoo.com/group/pfaf