Our People

Michel & Jude Fanton

Greece, Paranesti village, at Peliti Seed Exchange, May 2013

Greece, Paranesti village, at Peliti Seed Exchange, May 2013

Michel and Jude Fanton founded The Seed Savers’ Network in Australia in 1986. It quickly attracted national attention. In 1992 they began to take the message of the need to conserve traditional varieties of food plants to over forty other countries. In 2014-15 they are focussing on tours of South America and Eastern Europe.

Michel is French by birth and so has really sharp taste buds. Only fresh, dense flavours satisfy his palate. A polymath, Michel can turn a hand to anything, but is most content when gardening  – harvesting, pruning, planting, raking, watering, even mowing the grass in between the 900 perennials in the Seed Gardens in Byron Bay. He is second most happy when filming tribal cultures in gardens in exotic locations.

Jude was born near several apricot and almond trees in South Australia. Taste buds sharpened by fresh fruit and wild foods, Jude’s culinary skills really only came into their own through cooking with Michel. She is second most content teaching how to think clearly and appreciate life, read nature and enjoy all aspects of food. Jude is happiest rootling about in the vegie garden, lost in thought, wild harvesting and travelling with Michel.

Jude & Michel Fanton

Jude & Michel Fanton


Our Foundation and Board

The Seed Savers’ Network was founded in 1986. It was a trust for the first fourteen years, and became a foundation in 2000. The Seed Savers Foundation Ltd is registered in Australia as a charity. It is governed by a board and audited each year.

The members of the board are Lindsay Smith MoirJude FantonJerry Coleby-Williams and Caroline Lloyd.

Lindsay1st Director – Lindsay Smith Moir

Since 1996 Lindsay has been the accountant for Seed Savers. He specialises in charitable biodiversity and Permaculture entities.

Jude2nd Director – Jude Fanton

Jude loves to collect wild mushrooms, here Macrolepiota procera (Agaricaceae) that tastes like chicken, these gathered in cow paddocks in Autumn.

Jerry3rd Director – Jerry Coleby-Williams

My life and work can best be outlined using the fundamental and overlapping ethics of organic growing:

1 Stewardship of the Earth That is, working for and caring for all things, both living and non-living, including soil, water, air, and both wild and cultivated biodiversity;

2 Care of humanity Working for the sustainable provision of clean air, clean water, healthy soil, nutritious and affordable food, sound education, rewarding employment, all in a non-exploitative way that also allows people to improve the environment, their homes, and their lives;

3 Re-investing knowledge and skills By re-investing my knowledge and skills using my spare time, money and energy I aim to support sustainability through the stewardship of the Earth and care of humanity, to build capacity, and to enable others to follow suit, thereby strengthening these two ethics within and between the horticultural and conservation communities.

As an executive member of Queensland Conservation, I have helped initiate the ‘Grow Local’ community project aimed at sound nutrition, local employment, farmland conservation, and transition past peak oil. Through QC I sit on the Queensland Sustainable Agriculture committee, and the Brisbane City Council ‘City Smart’ committee, and I have been actively advocating the inclusion of Soil Carbon Sequestration in the federal government’s Carbon Trading Scheme.

I am an active advocate and participate in Guerilla Gardening, having established the Brisbane wing of this international gardening movement. I am currently a patron of the Australia & New Zealand Solar Energy Society.

CassyCaroline (Cassy) Lloyd

I’m the odd one out with no credentials in organics or Permaculture but, like many of us, I have a keen interest!

Hopefully my life’s experiences qualify me as a suitable ‘woMan Friday’ to the energetic duo of Jude n’ Michel. Background? UK and Australian teacher, then manager of real estate, residential aged care, VIP student care, historical buildings restoration, licensed live music venue, restaurateur … phew … now happily retired!

Since arriving in Byron Bay 1995 I’ve observed how The Seed Savers’ Network has grown and evolved from a locally based hands-on direct-contact approach to a dynamic web-based global network. The world is gradually catching on to the importance of sustainability and Jude n’ Michel’s brilliant expertise.

Their phone rings every week with requests from grass root societies, conference organisers and aid agencies … both local and global, all wanting to hear Jude n’ Michel ‘s message … delivered in their own distinctive style, ‘naturellement’!