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photography - ISSUE #10

Saving Seed

Introduction by Sonia Rego
Photographs by Will Hearle
Art Direction by Maia Magoga

It is a brisk and sunny day in north London. Under the quiet budding grapevines, the staff at OmVed Gardens sorts seeds and greets visitors with joy. There are tables neatly labeled: cucurbits, solanaceae, flowers, herbs, and leafy greens.

This is the home of The Seed Saving Network. Born in 2020, The Seed Saving Network is a community of growers across the UK that aim to save open-pollinated seed for the future. The network is guided by seed sovereignty, adaptation to climate change, and building community.

Seed sovereignty is the right to breed and exchange open-pollinated seeds that can be saved and that are not patented, owned or controlled. It is an act of quiet rebellion against the increasing corporate control and distribution of seeds, and the decreasing varieties of plants people can access. In the last century, the world has lost a large amount of genetic diversity in edible plants, though the true numbers are hard to measure.

The Seed Saving Network believes that saving seed is a reclamation of our past, present and future, putting seeds and food back in the hands of the people, where they belong. Growers can test, learn and grow the varieties that are best suited to them and their environment, year after year.

Seeds and plants adapt to their growing environment over time through natural selection. As the grower selects seed from the healthiest plants each year, this adaptation becomes stronger, and the seeds saved are more able to cope with pests, disease and changing weather patterns.

As visitors drop in on this day, they step into the green oasis holding jars and packets of seeds from their gardens. They are excited to share the stories of these seeds, which is usually so much more than just a story of seeds. They are excited to gift these seeds to others, to share the biodiversity, and they are also excited to share fellowship with those who share their love of plants.

These are the portraits of those who save seeds.

Ella Phillips, Daryl Gadzekpo, Zayan-Ra Gadzekpo and Azian Gadzekpo.

Johanna Tagada Hoffbeck.

Jatinder Singh Durhailay.

Neelam Patel.

Kevin Godby.

Silvia Gallotti and her family.

Karen Mandelstam, Isabel Robertson, Cherrell Avery.

Lydia Burman.

Kalpana Arias.

Tasnim Desai and her daughter.

Moy Fierheller and Charlie Harpur.

Antje Lang.

Florence Dring.

Angelina Melwani.

Laura Huff and Marko Madjarac.

Catherine Leclan.

Sabrina Henry.

Ellen Miles.

Florence Dring.

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