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This is the first 'blog' I've ever written and I've no idea whether a) anyone will read it and b) it will be of interest to anyone, but never mind, here goes!

This is the season when we start thinking about seeds. Everyone thinks it's in spring when we think about seeds and indeed it is, as we tend to buy and sow lots in spring. But by now (late summer) many annual plants will be starting to set seed so we can think about saving our own. And if you're reading this and you've got the opportunity, then you should, too.

Some of the reasons are obvious - it will save you a few quid next year, for example. It's a nice thing to do. Apparently seeds you've saved are gradually become adapted to the local environment, which is sort of obvious if you think about it (natural selection - put crudely, if they like it they will grow there, if not they won't). Others are not as obvious and rather than try to explain it myself, read this:

But as well as the actual saving of the seed, we find at our community gardens that when you're in the middle of the garden, doing a task, the conversation naturally falls around the job in hand. If we're picking tomatoes, we'll talk about the flavour and the nicest way to eat it (eg small tomatoes straight from the plant - been doing a lot of that lately! - or bigger tomatoes sliced with basil, olive oil, mozzarella and black pepper). But I digress. Seed saving is one of those tasks that the volunteers sometimes wonder if it's worth it. It is worth it, on many levels. If we save our own, it has been open pollinated rather than buying new, potentially hybridised seed every year. Hybridized seed will not reproduce seed that is true to type so it's a gift or capitalism: it keeps people running back to the garden centre for new seed every year, and seeds aren't cheap if you have to buy a lot of them. Then there's the issues of biodiversity - instead of buying from the large companies that won't necessarily promote biodiversity, we often buy our seeds from companies that do (for example and the real seed company (link above).

This is one way in which community gardening links us to much, much bigger issues, issues that affect not just us but people the world over. If this is something you are interested in, have a look at the Slow Food's website (the link is not appearing so cut and paste it or just search for Slow Food). There are some really interesting statistics on there about our food, how the production of food has changed in the last 50+ years, and how agriculture and our food supplies have become increasingly industrialised and natural resources like land, seeds and water are increasingly privatised, issues that affects us all but usually affect the most vulnerable the most negatively.

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