What is a seed swap event?

A seed swap event is self evident in its title, it is where people come together to swap vegetable, herb and flower seeds with other people in the community who have seeds to share and swap. Seed swapping is an age old practice that has no doubt existed for thousands of years, and will no doubt continue and become more popular as gardening and home food production become more widely practiced due to ecological and economic concerns about how our food is produced.

Sorting out a venue for your event

Organising any event can be a daunting prospect if you have never done it before. We decided that we wanted to put on our own seed swap event earlier this year and this is how we did it.

First and foremost is sorting out your venue within your means, our means were very little in monetary terms so we set about searching for a venue that we could use for free, this isn’t always an easy task when venue owners need to make an income.We settled on the idea of using a pub and went to see our local landlord, we put it to him that there would be a high chance that he would sell more beer than usual due to amount of people that were likely to turn up at such an event, the Landlord went along with our idea and gave us the use of a large grassed area to the rear of the pub completely free of charge.

Checklist of things you needs

Next on the list is the stuff that you need to host an event of this nature, it is best to make a short of items needed on the day.We borrowed tables and a gazebo from friends so that we were able to set up our stalls. Next on the list is seeds, we save seeds every year from our allotment plots and back garden, we split the seeds up into small packets and labelled them accordingly.

Promoting your event

And the final, but possibly most important thing on the organisational hit list is the promotion of the event itself, we set up a Facebook face and invited friends and friends of friends to attend, we also printed off a small amount of flyer’s that were distributed amongst community groups and stuck up in local shops in and around the area where the event is being held. We also emailed the local newspaper that was happy to provide a bit of page space to promote the event free of charge. All in all, this event cost only five pounds to put on, and around a hundred people turned up during the course of the day.

How do Seed Swapping events help in the development of a permanent culture?

Seed Swap events can be useful on a number of levels when thinking about a permanent culture, firstly, they introduce and bring people together who have a common interest, secondly, they help to supply the local community with a diverse seed stock and give this community independence from the big seeds suppliers.Long lasting relationships and projects can be forged from seed swap events, our own event put is in contact with some people who we will work with in the future to help them grow their own sustainable supply of organic food in their back gardens.

Film of Bolton Seedswap event.

Seed saving methods

from http://www.smallgreengarden.com/

Other great links:

Seedy Sunday – loads of information on seedswaps and seeds in general

New York Seed Library Project

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