Seed Sources: We Grow Our Own Seed Without Any Chemicals

We are committed to sustainable agriculture and sustainable living.

We try to think carefully about the impact of our lives on the planet: So we don't use any chemicals for our growing,
we use electricity generated from the wind, sun and water,
and all our heating is by renewably coppiced wood. We don't fly, and try to minimise our car use.

Most of our vegetable growing and weeding is by hand, with minimal machinery use
- we have a small tractor for preparing the seedbeds at the start of each season.
Two thirds of our land are devoted to wildlife and woodland.
Overall , our aim is that at the end of our lives, we will leave the soil and ecosystems in a better condition than at the start.

Seed that We Have Grown:

We have always aimed to produce our seeds to the highest ethical and environmental standards.

Now that Real Seeds has grown, we have decided to register with the Soil Association. Our land is currently 'in conversion'
so from 2021 you will start to see seed that we have grown ourselves labelled as Organic.

Seed from Others:

As far as possible we work with small-scale local growers - people who we know and trust. We have a longstanding network
of seed growers, and we are developing this further in collaboration with the Gaia Seed Sovereignty programme.

We will only work with growers who we trust to use no chemicals, and who we know see the soil as a living organism that must be cared for.
However because of their size many of these growers are not certified organic.

We have labelled these seed sources, so you can decide if you trust our views on this.

Other seed we buy in from commercial seed growers. Whenever possible we get certified organic seed.
You can find this seed on the website marked with the Soil Association Organic logo.

In some cases, when there is no small-scale supplier or good organic seed available, then we'll track down top-quality
conventionally grown seed, making sure the seeds are not treated with any fungicides or pesticides after harvest.

Seed Source Symbols

 

The heart shows seed grown by us, or by a grower working for us. This seed is not certified organic, but has been grown without any chemicals, and with care for the environment.

The ying-yang shows seed produced by a certified organic farmer. (This seed was packed early in the 2018-2019 season before our processing license was approved, so it doesn't have the SA Organic logo on the packets.)
Organic seed packed under our Soil Association license.
Where we cannot find a more environmentally sustainable source, the gear shows seed from conventional (non-organic) agriculture. It does not have any post-harvest chemical treatment or preservatives added to it.

 

We don't have anything to do with treated (fungicide-coated), hybrid seed, or genetically modified seed!
(We don't believe you should plant in the soil anything you wouldn't be happy to put in your dinner.)

Seed Saving

All our seeds come with instructions on how to save pure seeds for use in the following years. This is only possible because none are hybrids. Seedsaving is a simple process that is vital if you want to be able to carry on growing vegetables suitable for home growing rather than those bred for commercial chemical farming.

While it may seem odd for us to encourage you to keep you own seed, it is obvious to us that the world is in a perilous state as we enter a period of rapid climate change just as we have lost all our traditional vegetable varieties. We would prefer that you saved your own seed - preserving this biodiversity for future generations is far more important than us making big profits.

Bigger Packet Sizes

On a separate note, we have yet again increased packet sizes wherever we have enough seed available. We are proud of our reputation for good germination, so we do not want to keep seed from year to year - we'd rather you had a generous portion. It seems that commercial seed packets are getting smaller and smaller, and while it is silly to waste seed, we try to give you as least as much as we would sow for our own family use.