Food and Seed Sovereignty

Seed and food sovereignty for climate change resilience is a core part of Gaia’s work. Food sovereignty is defined as ‘the right of peoples to healthy and culturally appropriate food produced through ecologically sound and regenerative methods’. We believe in the farmer and growers’ rights to breed and exchange diverse, open-pollinated seed which can be saved, shared and re-sown year after year.

Food and seed which is locally produced (and adapted!), is grown in nourished not intoxicated soils, and is rich in nutrients, is the future food system we are sowing. The way in which we grow and share our food is part of our responsibility to the future generations of all species.

Our UK and Ireland Seed Sovereignty Programme is at the forefront of restoring biodiversity and resilience to our seed system.

To date we have trained 580 people in beginner, intermediate and advanced seed skills; Supported 19 new growers to produce veg seed commercially, making more diversity available to all; Nurtured 62 new community growers to produce their own veg seed and grain; and supported 100 growers to grow 276 new varieties from seed, both commercially and at community level.

Food and seed sovereignty go hand in hand with regenerative agricultural practices such as composting, water harvesting and polyculture (diversity of crops), often referred to as agroecology. Agroecological approaches to food growing are key for climate change resilience as they sequester carbon, cooling the planet rather than contributing to climate change. This approach is completely juxtaposed to the industrial agriculture system which generates vast amounts of greenhouse gases, is the driver of landgrabbing globally, destroys and pollutes biodiverse habitats, keeps animals in appalling conditions and places profit before all else.

Gaia is proud to work with small, family farmers globally, supporting diverse, local, agroecological farming practices. It is these farmers who feed over 70% of the global population, on a quarter of the land.

By offering trainings in reviving indigenous seed diversity and knowledge, by facilitating immersive community processes such as dialogues, eco-cultural mapping and calendars, and through strategic advocacy collaboration, we support communities to regain confidence in their traditional knowledge and their indigenous seed varieties. We promote peer-to-peer, farmer-to-farmer exchanges, encouraging communities to link up with others doing the same.

Find out more…

Related news

7th March 2024

Seed Week Roundup

During this year’s Seed Week, we glimpsed what’s possible when we restore our relationship with seed. From the joy of breeding diverse populations, to the magic of seed swaps and… Read More

7th March 2024

Join Gaia’s Seed Sovereignty Team!

We’re looking for a seed enthusiast based in the south to take up the role of Regional Coordinator for our Seed Sovereignty Programme! Closing date 5pm on Monday 25th March…. Read More

Useful reports & publications

18th July 2021

The State of Seed Survey, UK

In Spring 2021 the Landworkers’ Alliance and the Gaia Foundation Seed Sovereignty Programme worked together to survey farmers and growers across the UK to gather the views and experiences of… Read More

8th January 2021

Healthy Crops: A New Agricultural Revolution

First published in 1985 by agronomist Francis Chaboussou, Healthy Crops: A New Agricultural Revolution is republished online in full here for the first time! A forgotten classic, Healthy Crops offers… Read More

decorative splash

Support us with a donation

We live in a time of multiple, complex crises. There are no easy answers. Working to uphold the health and diversity of our living planet is always rewarding, but we think you’ll agree it can sometimes feel like swimming against the stream. And yet like salmon we leap, and more often than you might expect, we make it. We invite you to make the next leap with us by making a donation of any size. Thank you for your solidarity.

Donate Today