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The Seed Savers' Network
The Seed Savers' Network
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Post Office Box 975, Byron Bay, New South Wales, AU
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The Seed Savers' Network

Project Type

Educational, Political

Project Summary

The Seed Savers’ Network, founded in 1986 as a Permaculture project. It is based in Byron Bay, Australia to preserve the genetic basis of tomorrows' food.

Project Description

     For 22 years we recorded and stored seeds in our short term holding seed bank, multiplying samples in Seed Savers' gardens about one third of them, and sending out the rest for multiplication to thousands of gardeners. More than 15 000 people have been involved with the "grow out" of seeds lines Seed Savers had received. Since 2008  Local Seed Networks have taken the lead in many regions: they locate and map local seeds, they adapt them to the locality if need be and distribute them locally for multiplication, further adaptation, further distribution. All seeds are therefore fresh and kept alive in gardens. Seed varieties are not stable and uniform as the legislation likes to impose in EU. Folk varieties ( aka heirloom, heritage, landrace) are gene rich, they  change with the gardener's practice, taste, soil, climate etc. That is the beauty of it all.

·      Each year several hundred gardeners offered seeds and other planting material in our Spring Newsletter from 1986 to 2008 with on average 1200 varieties offered each year. now it is all up to the LSN to do their seed-thing. it is particularly useful for plants routinely vegetatively propagated like rhubarb, lemon grass, potatoes, rhizomes, wasabi, yams.(note some can also be reproduced by seed)

To improve the quality of seeds multiplied in gardens and small farms, as well as their distribution to the wider community, we have publishing three books on the subject; and a one hour documentary; running a seed exchange, a seed multiplication garden and a seed bank; organising conferences, frequent events and workshops and spawning over a hundred local seed networks around Australia and many internationally.

·     Between 1986 and 2008 Seed Savers received over 9,000 vegetable seed accessions. But now all the seeds are kept by our local seed networks LSNs. 


·  Seed Savers distributed 500,000 free packets of original seeds grown by members of Seed Savers; the seed packets filled each year by elderly volunteers in garden clubs. That resulted in obtaining adaptations all over Australia bioregions because of the repeated seed savers selection of best plants for seed.

· a.

·      Twenty Seed Savers annual conferences were held from 1988 to 2008 at different locations in Australia.

·      We have written and published three books, "The Seed Savers' Handbook", "Local Seed Network Manual" and "Seed to Seed Food Gardens in Schools" available from our website, seedsavers.net PRI also sells them.


·     As of early 2011 we sold 32,000 copies of "The Seed Savers' Handbook” and it has been translated into French, Japanese, Spanish, Italian, Basque and Macedonian with a further 30,000 circulated. that helps fund our activities that are now more on the spreading the seed consciousness about the globe. We travel six months a year now.

·      We produced a one-hour documentary "Our Seeds: Seeds Blong Yumi" in 2008, distributed 1000 free copies and as of 2011, sold another 1000 online. Check  youtube.com/seedsavers to see the trailer.

·      Seed Savers' has helped to establish Seed Networks in a number of other countries including Afghanistan, Cambodia, East Timor, Ecuador, India, Japan, Vanuatu, Solomon Islands, and PNG. totaling twenty something countries. last one is Serbia we visited last year and address the chamber of commerce in Belgrad hosted by the organic and biodynamic associations.

·      We have trained sixty-eight interns in Seed Savers gardens here in Byron bay, twenty from Australia most of whom went on to work in overseas projects; and the rest from overseas, mostly from Majority World countries. For details see http://www.seedsavers.net/our-global-reach

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OuSeed Savers' Network is now a mature Permaculture project of 25 years standing. Though it is specialised on plant diversity, Permaculture principles underpin it all the way.




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