Seeds of Hope

We are brimming with anticipation over the launch of our Seeds of Hope Campaign which brings to you a seed library for Bradford. We are really excited to have been able to pull this together in time for the Gaia Foundation’s #seedweek.

We invite you to join the Seeds of Hope Seed Library as members and receive a seed packet which has been carefully crafted in collaboration with our fab friend nick at The Print Project. This mini piece of art will contain locally grown, adapted and saved seeds for you to sow, eat and save more seeds from.

This project has been a dream seed for a while and we hope that it lands on fertile ground and you will join us. We offer the Seeds of Hope campaign in memory of Ana Karina Jimenez Villarreal. Ana died 5 years ago. She was a member of our team and a good friend to many here in Bradford.

She came in 2010 as an asylum seeker, was the first Venezuelan refugee ever to be given status and sanctuary in the UK after political persecution, she was an active member of many of Bradford’s DIY, anarchist and solidarity offerings including the 1-in-12 club and lived in housing coops in the city. Ana was a student intern here during the summer of 2015 and died to suicide aged 25. Although this is a tragic story we honour her memory as a caring person, who stood by her principles and made the work a better place.

Ana was very excited to grow tomatoes the first year she was in the UK and so asked about growing some in December one year, learning about these strange cold, damp climates and how you have to grow indoors and transplant many of the key crops we use outdoors once it’s warm enough outside. Very different to Venezuela’s equatorial climate where she’d been inspired by her grandmother growing on her farm there.

Whilst she was with us Ana grew tomatoes and some beautiful cucumbers she sowed on her windowsill and then transplanted into one of our polytunnels. She told her sister how she’d learnt to ‘generate life’ (literal translation from spanish).

Ana was a friend to us and many others and for us this is the key message, come as you are, grow with us and sow some seeds. Hopefully you will enjoy seeing them bloom.

We understand that this year in particular has been a huge struggle for so many people and will have had a detrimental effect on our mental health, likely in ways we will not yet realise. What we do know is that nature can be a salve, even if this is temporary. We hope to encourage many people as possible to join our membership, receive the seeds and to plant seeds of hope, for ourselves, for each other and for our communities.

With this campaign and membership offer we aim to raise the profile of open-pollinated and locally adapted seeds, healthy food systems, embedded in biocultural diversity and help people to connect and develop their growing to include seed saving. These activities can be part of self-care routines and being part of community.

We have been growing open-pollinated seeds on our site using no-dig methods since we began growing here in 2012 and are currently looking at how seed saving fits into our work and offering. We have delivered hundreds of seed packs to families during lockdown and are thinking creatively about the future.

We have received a number of donations into our seed library and inspired by Lancaster Seed Library and London Freedom Seed Bank we are developing our offerings to include membership of the Seed Library (which gives you automatic membership to Horton Community Farm Co-op Ltd), one of these gorgeous seeds packets delivered to your door and access to regular online (& when we can on site) gatherings designed to inspire your food growing and seed saving.

With the support of dedicated community seed savers we hope to grow even more food on our site as well as crops for seed. We are currently organising all our seeds to make them available to you via Airtable inspired by London Freedom Seed Banks offer. We aim to support local seed swaps and circles and encourage people to join the northern seed savers facebook group.

This last year has shown something we’ve been slowly been building awareness of in our communities – that food systems and their health, as well as nature connection – are really central to our health, wellbeing and community resilience.

Please join us in sowing some seeds of hope, look out for those who are struggling and be kind to yourself, earth and each other.