“The disappearance of our biodiversity and of our seed sovereignty is creating a major crisis for agriculture and food security around the world. We must act before it is too late. Seeds are the first link in the food chain and the repository of life’s future evolution. As such, it is our inherent duty and responsibility to protect them and to pass them on to future generations.” – Vandana Shiva
“Though I do not believe that a plant will spring up where no seed has been, I have great faith in a seed. Convince me that you have a seed there, and I am prepared to expect wonders.” – Henry David Thoreau
29 Nov 2017, Skip Garden 12:30pm
Frank Barnes School left the garden half an hour ago with packets of saved pumpkins seeds in their hands and the taste of freshly made brittles in their mouths. There were more than 200 seeds in the ten-kilos pumpkin that Charlotte Dove, Director at London Freedom Seed Bank, grew in her allotment and brought to us in a suitcase. The kids hugged the pumpkin like a precious jewel and dug in it like explorers of a new land.
The pupils from Frank Barnes School have been involved in our Lunch and Learning Programme since the beginning of 2017 and, as a last session before the new programme begins, we remembered the species we lost and reflected on the role we play to protect our planet.
We lose animals, seeds, plants, skills, and traditions every single day, and we must be aware that there is something we can do every day to stop the loss of these wonders. If only we could look at a pumpkin in the same way kids do. An effective and hopeful activism doesn't have to be associated with big organisations, with politics and conferences. It is in our heads, in our hands and in every single step we take from the moment we leave our bed in the morning.
Since HLF rewarded Global Generation with new funding, a new perception about seeds formed in my mind. I have to be honest, I never really realised that touching a seed, planting a seed, cooking with seeds meant connecting with the heart of what we are: Children of Nature, Creatures of History, Siblings of the Whole. Touching a seed or simply paying deep attention to it, it is already a fight against separation, against disconnection, against the cause of those losses.
A small seed is a huge tool of knowledge, of remembrance, of creation and innovation. And the young people of the garden who decided to get involved in the HLF Project Seeds for a better World became real activists in this sense.
Cassie, Lucy, Imogen, Samika, Christabelle and Genette have decided to embrace history, heritage and nature in a new way.
Since last September, the girls have been on an incredible journey. The project has taken them to Ryton Gardens (Coventry) exploring its Heritage Seeds Library, to Brixton at a cinema to watch “Seed: The Untold Story”, hosted by the London Freedom Seed Bank. Verusca Calabria, member of the Oral History Society, came down from Nottingham to deliver a workshop about oral history and how to collect stories from people and community groups. The young people will be gathering oral stories of traditions around seeds-saving and -growing and create an exhibition in 2018 with images and voices to raise awareness about the importance of saving seeds.
Young people have already been artists, photographers, cooks and seeds-savers and they will host a Seed Festival on 3rd February 2018 at The Skip Garden in King's Cross.
I know it might sound strange but I never looked at a seed as I have done recently, for everything they really represents. This is what young people’s curiosity and passion have allowed me to see. A seed is the universe story captured in few millimetres and repeated every day, over and over again. A bang and then… life and death, and life again.
The time spent with the young people reflecting on seeds has been a doorway to a reflection on myself as a human being, as a mother and as an educator. There is uncertainty, cracks and darkness in growth before we reach the light we need, the light we need to walk on the surface of this planet, to feel we deserve to be here, to feel that we can ourselves become seeds of values, seeds of the energy needed to nourish a new idea of the world.
Seeds will inspire the new Lunch and Learning calendar as well as our youth programmes and community events in 2018. Although very tiny, they deserve a bigger place as powerful tools of education, as teachers of history and traditions, as metaphors of life and growth, as the real jewels we should wear and protect and show off.
As a result of a seed planted roughly 9 months ago, I will be looking after a newborn living creature for most of 2018, and should I feel tired and hopeless, I will remember the untold story: Every day, every step, every choice is a seed planted in the soil of this world. So I shall ask myself: “What living creature would you like to see one day?” An ambassador for a better world!