Making seed swap magic in Hull

Making seed swap magic in Hull

For a food system to be resilient, it needs to be joined up. Those in the community need to be talking to and supporting each other, whether that’s businesses connecting with local growers or organisations with individuals. Hull Food Partnership is one organisation working to forge those connections: making introductions, providing opportunities to connect, and sharing information and resources.


One way they do this is through their annual seed swap, where both established growers and curious members of the public alike can drop in to pick up some seeds and learn more about growing. “It kicks off the growing season and brings together community growers,” describes Darren Squires, Community Campaigns Officer at the partnership.


The event saw about 200 people come together to explore the idea of growing their own food, whether that was through picking up some seeds, talking to other people in the community, or getting advice from volunteers.


“It’s about 20p a packet if you don’t bring seeds to swap, and there’s a massive variety from people who have engaged with seed saving as well as donating new or end-of-shelf-life commercial seeds. We also had a big donation of new seeds from the local wholesale seed suppliers which we split up and repackaged into smaller sizes for people to take away.”


For many growers, this is their first opportunity to meet with others and talk to those who haven’t ever grown something. As Darren explains: “we’re very local and place-based, so if a community grower wants to communicate, they need a mechanism for doing that. The fact we can hire somewhere in the centre of town and encourage public to come in gives them a means to engage with the public, city-wide, in a way they wouldn’t be able to otherwise.”


It's not all about seeds though. The event also helps people get together and connect on wider food issues in Hull, and this year’s guest of honour was Young Mayor Amaya Newman, who represents the young people of Hull. Amaya was there to talk to people about the new food and solutions app which will bring together local community food growers and VSCE support organisations. “It’s taking the info that’s normally on websites about community food suppliers and support organisations, and putting them onto an app for young people,” Darren explains.


As well as this annual event, Hull Food Partnership also run regular growing activities throughout the city to ensure as many people as possible can give it a go, and this always involves giving out seeds too. “As a food partnership we communicate with the public, which means picking up really useful information, but also we can share information – and part of that is distributing seeds and hopefully get people growing,” says Darren, going on to highlight how growing something from seed, no matter how small, can mean inspiring someone to tend a whole vegetable patch in the future.


Next up for Hull Food Partnership is a growing activity at a local children’s centre, where they’ll be demonstrating how to grow lettuce or pea shoots that participants can then take home – their aim is to keep it as simple and accessible as possible.


“The ability to have a conversation, give encouragement and share seeds which you know suit their growing environment and skill level with a little bit advice of how and when to grow is absolutely invaluable.”


Find out more about the Hull Food Partnership.

Find out how to run your own Seed Swap.

Explore the free Plant and Share toolkit.

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