Dan Saladino meets some of the people who turned to seeds and grew food in the lockdown. As well as supermarket panic buying, seed sellers also saw huge spikes in sales. Seed producer David Price describes how, as lockdown approached, orders from customers increased by around 600 per cent.
The impact Covid-19 has on food supplies explains some of this. Many farmers who supplied restaurants had to quickly start growing different types of food which they could sell into markets that hadn’t been shut down. Veg box schemes were also seeing unbelievable levels of demand and needed access to more seed to ensure future supplies.
Lockdown also meant that people gardens were spending more time in them and perhaps experimenting by planting seeds to grow food for the first time. Seed producers became aware that many customers were being motivated by a desire to become more self-sufficient and escape the growing supermarket queues.
With the help of gardener and writer Alys Fowler Dan finds out more about our changing relationship with seeds and the power and autonomy seed saving provides.
Phil Howard, Associate Professor at Michigan State University explains how the global supply of seed now rests in a small number of corporate hands.
In Bristol, Dan meets people who are striving for a new form of food independence during the pandemic, and beginning to grow their own. Another seed producer Fred Groom of Vital Seeds argues that more of us should be saving seeds, growing food and helping to save diversity. He's setting up an online course this summer as a way of recovering some of these lost skills (to find out more go to https://vitalseeds.co.uk/
For decades, helping to keep the seed saving flame alive in gardens and allotments have been various communities around the UK who have continued to rely on them for fresh food. Among them are people who arrived from the Caribbean in the 1950s. Dan meets two inspirational Jamaican growers, Mr Brown and Leon Walker, both are evangelical about the power of seeds to shape our lives.
Produced and presented by Dan Saladino.