Wayne Frankham is Regional Coordinator of the Seed Sovereignty programme in conjunction with The Gaia Foundation and runs a range of Seed Outreach initiatives for Irish Seed Savers. Wayne’s mission is to train community groups to grow and save their own seed and because of YOU, and your generous donations Wayne has been able to connect and train communities all over Ireland.

What have doctors, students, farmers, teachers, engineers, researchers, mothers, drivers, cleaners, builders, immigrants, cooks, artists and pensioners in common? Community groups. Their breadth of experience is great. All manner of skillsets, abilities and backgrounds; sociably sharing time & interests. Who makes tea, asks questions, has ideas, welcomes, puts chairs away? Everyone does. Who eats, enjoys gardening, wants a future un-compromised by the loss of the essential skills of thousands of years of ancestors?

Seed saving is an act of pleasure, simplified by community action. It’s not without complexity, but rewards outweigh challenges. Saving seed as a community reduces demands of individual responsibility. Our diets are varied, but we don’t need to save every variety of every plant, every year. Each member of a community saving the seed of one or two varieties of their favourite plant for sociable exchange soon caters for the essentials and treats for the community. It also helps with practicalities like crop isolation distances to prevent varieties from accidentally crossing; coming together to harvest or sort the seed. Hundreds of dried pea pods, peeled open, gathered, and fingers run through, is an act as pleasurable to children, as stress free to the mindfulness practitioner, as bonding to chatting strangers, as it’s a simple process of pleasure for the seasoned seed saver. Other practicalities include sharing equipment and resources like sieves, or community seed library storage.

So whether it’s a community living locally, gardening together, or just meeting once a year for a seed swap, community seed trainings bring the range of experiences together, teaches fundamentals with practice and theory, discusses historical, cultural and international context; builds resilience, reduces dependance and develops valuable life skills –  furthering community learning in the environment you know, using your meeting room/hall and community garden or allotment as a living classroom – reducing financial and environmental costs of group travel.

Donations help us to connect by phone, online, and in person with the many groups around Ireland, to research and develop our skills and knowledge to share, source the best materials and equipment to demonstrate and recommend, to attend training and events, and to conserve, maintain and make available the hundreds of seed varieties relied upon for generations throughout Ireland. To find out more about how YOU can help, click here

“Hundreds of community growers are trained through tailor made events across all regions. You can mutually support your community and our work by organising an event, becoming a group supporter, or through donations. Thank you.”

Wayne & the team at Irish Seed Savers