What is Seed Swapping?

Get involved in your community by swapping seeds with your neighbors and growing a wide variety of plants.

| February 2017

  • Seed Swapping
    Swapping seeds is a great way to share your favorite plants with your community.
    Photo by Fotolia/Maggie
  • Seedswap
    "Seedswap" by Josie Jeffery gives seed activists all the tools necessary to save and swap seeds!
    Cover courtesy Roost Books

  • Seed Swapping
  • Seedswap

With the rise in genetically modified seeds many are looking to the past, to the days of seed saving and seed swapping. Swapping and saving seeds insures our planet's plant heritage, and the movement is gaining popularity. Seedswap (Roost Books, 2014) by Josie Jeffery is the perfect introduction to saving seeds, with illustrations, easy to follow instructions, a glossary of plants and more. This excerpt comes from chapter 1, "Seed Swapping."

You can purchase this book from the GRIT store: Seedswap.

Seed swapping is about engaging with your community, sharing seeds with friends, neighbours and relatives, and exchanging knowledge and ideas. At the same time, this fascinating activity makes it more likely that the genetic integrity of a plant is preserved and passed on.

I have enjoyed seed saving for all of my gardening career. For me, it is one of the most exciting of garden tasks, and it represents the end of the season, a time for reflection. I enjoy the whole seed-saving process and sharing my garden’s seed bounty with my friends and the community.

Why Swap Seeds?

Seed swapping is a means of exchanging surplus seeds as a goodwill gesture, and usually takes place at organized gatherings for novice and seasoned gardeners. Participants trade their seeds and knowledge in a local community hall or someone’s house, or even via a ‘round robin’.

With the increase in the cost of living, seed swapping is a great way of becoming more self-sufficient in the ornamental garden as well as the fruit and vegetable garden. Saving and swapping seeds has a wealth of benefits, from financial savings through to maintaining food security and protecting biodiversity, rare species and seed genetics. It also helps to disseminate the practices and ideas of other cultures, which may be linked to particular plant species and their varieties. Seeds have the ability to travel great distances, and those with the greatest cultural significance tend to get transported by people as they move around the globe.

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