The Gaia Foundation Part 2 | Seed Week
Following our feature on The Gaia Foundation, We Feed the World, we continue the conversation by introducing Seed Week by Gaia’s Seed Sovereignty UK & Ireland Programme. This week-long exploration of the smallest agricultural input with the biggest impact, aims to educate and inspire home growers, seasoned gardeners, and budding conservationists alike. Read on for how you can get involved, and a simple way to use seeds in your kitchen.
The humble seed, so small, so full of potential not yet realised. As we all discovered during our first national lockdown, these little seeds are not nearly as humble as we thought. With supermarket shelves left barren and time at home abundant, there was a seed boom here in the UK. You may have experienced the long lines at your local garden centre, but the fact that organisations like the Seed Cooperative saw a 600% growth in ecological seed sales during 2020’s lockdowns remains a remarkable statistic.
Growing something from a seed to your family’s table is appealing in times where food shops are chaotic and unpredictable. More than that, the act of gardening – of nurturing a plant and seeing it flourish – is a wonderful mindfulness exercise with a myriad of benefits in stressful circumstances.
“People crave connection. They want connection with other people and connection with the planet, and growing and saving seed is a way of getting both,” says David Price of the Lincolnshire-based Seed Cooperative.
While seed sales boom and more people are looking to plant for the spring, now is the perfect time to champion the use of local, sustainable seeds across the UK. Enter Seed Week 2021. From the 18th to the 22nd of January, The Gaia Foundation and partners across the UK and Ireland will share stories of growers starting out, of old traditions revived, and of varieties weird and wonderful, as well as where to buy the most sustainable seed on the market as the UK enters yet another period of pandemic lockdown.
“We’re already seeing a huge shift in behaviour when it comes to choosing which seed to plant, and when it comes to seeds, buying local really does matter. By buying seed that has been grown locally, you’re buying seeds that have already adapted to your climate, weather, and growing conditions,” says Sinead Fortune from The Gaia Foundation’s Seed Sovereignty UK & Ireland Programme which supports the agro-ecological seed sector.
If you’re interested in the ecological life of seeds, getting involved with the movement, or are simply curious, we recommend visiting Gaia’s dedicated Seed Sovereignty website. It is an invaluable resource filled with practical content alongside local event listings to get connect with your local seed saving community during Seed Week and beyond.
Snack on Seeds
Seeds are more than just the opportunity for growth; they make an incredible ingredient in many delicious dishes. We can’t get enough of snacking on seed bars – though our recipe for Quick Easy Energy Balls is tough competition. Nutrient-dense, packed with energy, and satisfyingly crunchy, follow the recipe below for the perfect lockdown snack bar.
65g pumpkin seeds
65g sunflower seeds
125g flaked coconut (unsweetened)
30g sesame seeds
30g chia seeds
30g flax seeds or sub with hemp seeds
generous pinch of salt
1 tspn vanilla
65g honey (warmed for easier mixing)
Preheat oven to 160c.
Mix the seeds and salt together in a medium bowl. Stir in the vanilla and warm honey, until combined.
Place a piece of baking paper in an 8 x 8 baking dish (all the way up the sides too) . Spray/brush lightly with oil.
Pour the seed mix into the prepared dish and spread out the mixture evenly, into the corners and edges and press down firmly until you have a compact, smooth surface at a uniform depth.
Place on the middle rack in the oven for 40-55 minutes. Check at 25 minutes turning the heat down, if edges seem too brown. For a chewy consistency, take out at 40-45 minutes, for a crispier consistency, let it cook the full 50 -55 minutes. The key is….You want to take them out when they are perfectly golden. If you take them out too early (before they are golden) they may be too chewy and sticky. They really require a close eye!
Remove from the oven, and cool completely. When it’s completely cooled, take the baking paper out of the pan, turn it over and remove the paper. Flip back over and cut into desired shapes or bars. Store at room temperate and enjoy!