Our mission is to sow the seeds of a healthy and resilient organic food system that promotes diversity, democracy and a closer relationship with our food, and those who grow it.
The Seed Co-operative exists to shine a spotlight on the vital, but all-too-often forgotten, role of the humble seed in building a resilient food system.
The future of food has to be rooted in democracy, diversity and health. That means diversity of ownership and shared knowledge, with diversity of genetics and wildlife. Working with diversity is adopting nature’s way of nurturing the health of our planet and people.
Varieties that are open pollinated and adapted to organic growing systems are the essential ingredients in making this happen. That’s where the Seed Co-operative comes in.
We grow, process and sell organic, open-pollinated seed for the UK and beyond, and develop new varieties through organic plant breeding, to support the collective work of those striving towards making agro-ecological farming and food sovereignty a reality. We want you to know where your seed comes from; who grew it and where, and even who bred each variety.
We’re not interested in tricksy seed biotechnology, or dominating the world’s seed supply. Instead, we believe passionately in breeding open pollinated seeds that everyone can grow, everyone can save for the next year, and everyone can afford. All our sustainable futures depend on it.
Our Journey So Far
The Seed Co-operative came into being in 2014 as an initiative of the Biodynamic Association, supported by Garden Organic and the Organic Research Centre, working with the Open Pollinated Seeds initiative and experienced seedsman Hans Steenbergen.
We established ourselves as a Community Benefit Society to provide a co-operative membership organisation open to everyone: farmers, growers, home gardeners, chefs, professionals and amateurs alike. Similar projects are establishing themselves across the globe from Columbia to Canada, India to Ethiopia, and throughout continental Europe, in response to the threats of industrial food production over the last century.
In 2016 we bought Gosberton Bank Nursery in Lincolnshire, which had been largely abandoned for four years. Our 24-acre home, now nursed back to health thanks to the hard work of staff and a host of volunteers, includes 2.5 acres of glasshouses with a rainwater-fed reservoir for irrigation, buildings for seed processing and storage, and housing for staff. In 2017 we were a finalist in the BBC Food and Farming Awards. We achieved organic certification in April 2018.
David Price and Kate Ayre grew seed for us in Suffolk before moving to Gosberton Bank Nursery in 2016, where they managed the merging of an existing seed business (Stormy Hall Seeds) with an abandoned farm at Gosberton, to what we have today.
Sharn Jones MSc Earth Sci FCMI MCIEH - General Manager
Frank Gundry-White - Head Grower
Jane Parker - Seed Shop Manager
Candice Sly - Customer Manager
Henry L'Estrange - Chair
Dr Julia Wright - Vice-Chair and Secretary
Jenni Rosenbrock - People & Legal
Hans Steenbergen - Supply
Dr Bruce D. Pearce - Policy and Regulation
Dr Amanda McMurray - Finance
TBC - Marketing
We are currently recruiting for a Marketing Director. If you think you have the skills to help fill this post (2-3 days per month) please get in touch at email@example.com.