Seed Blog Archives – back to 2003

  • Our dear insect pollinators

    We love our pollinators. Check our Instagram for high speed videos of pollinators insects we meet. Here is a great article on an australian native bee. Australian bees are real headbangers, say scientists

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  • Vanuatu. We Took Part In An Australian Aid Program. It Was More About Helping Your Country Than Ours

    Australia has long held an ideological opposition to the way of life of my people in Vanuatu. Customary land, our traditions, our ‘subsistence’ culture and ‘informal’ economy are seen as inherent impediments to development. Our perspective and values are not taken into consideration because countries like Australia see only the need for economic growth Advocates... Read More

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  • The story of farmers who broke the chains

    How Lentils Started an Underground Food Movement

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  • Alfredo Bonanno: prolific illustrator

    Alfredo Bonanno: prolific illustrator

    Alfredo grew all the plants so he had a life model to draw the hundreds of illustrations for the Seed Savers Handbook. It was a patient work of love where Alfredo spend more than 18 months to complete the projects: the plants dictated the rhythm. Thank you Alfredo to have helped make our book a... Read More

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  • Seed Savers’ Handbook published in Italian

    Thu, 07/03/2013 – Jude Fanton The Seed Savers’ Handbook, our classic guide to how to save seeds, and much more, about 117 species of food plants, has been published in Italian. This is the second time this has happened, now with a major publisher, Macro Gruppo.

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  • Can KEFIR, the ferment use to make a rich yoghurt, be “exchanged”?

    Thu, 06/12/2012 – Michel Fanton Yes surely any culinary ferment starters such as sourdough, wine vinegar mothers, yeasts, miso and natto or mushroom spores, spawn and duff can be exchanged in any Local Seed Network in Australia. We have always been keen on fermented foods and have regularly used and given away our red wine... Read More

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  • New Seed Network Gets Friends to Start and Celebrate

    Wed, 05/12/2012 – Michel Fanton Seed Savers web architect and communication man, John Brisbin with wife Caroline Lieber, are recent arrivals in MT Molloy, up on the range inland from Mosman. Their block is quite a challenge – steep and exposed to the strong winds, with minimal topsoil over shaley clay. The climate is also... Read More

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  • Growing Food Workshops in Byron Bay

    Mon, 22/10/2012 – Jude Fanton Seed Savers international trainers, Michel and Jude Fanton, will deliver two one-day workshops on growing food, in their diversity Seed Garden in Byron Bay, Australia. Sunday 11th November – The Perennial Vegetable Garden Sunday 2nd December – The Food Forest

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  • Seed to Seed Presentation Available Free Online

    Tue, 16/10/2012 – Michel Fanton Here are 150 slides in a Powerpoint Presentation that we gave at the Australian City Farms and Community Gardens Network Conference on Friday 12th October, 2012. The text has come out larger than the original, so sometimes you cannot see it. http://issuu.com/seedsavers/docs/seed_savers_2012?mode=window&viewMode=singlePage&backgroundColor=%23222222

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  • Seed Freedom Fortnight of Action Finishes Today

    Tue, 16/10/2012 – Michel Fanton We were in Sydney for Seed Freedom Fortnight of Action from 6th to 14th October. See other blogs below. Our events were: Sunday 7th – Workshop on Diversify your Garden workshop for Permaculture Sydney Institute at Karonga Special School. Monday 8th – ABC Radio National Bush Telegraph interview. Thursday 11th... Read More

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  • Seed Savers Open Garden Day Attracts 400 Visitors

    Tue, 16/10/2012 – Michel Fanton Thirteen tour groups of 30 to 50 people experienced our fourteen year old one-acre food and seed gardens in Byron Bay and learnt how to grow delicious fruits and vegies, even when absent for up to four months per year. Will upload pictures of the day. Feel free to send... Read More

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  • Open Day at Garden of Plenty

    Tue, 16/10/2012 – Michel Fanton Our local paper had an article on our Open Day this Sunday 21st Oct. http://www.byronnews.com.au/news/fantons-open-up-garden-of-plenty/1576799/ IMAGE: Michel and Jude Fanton with produce from their garden, turmeric, yam and papaya. Photo and story by Digby Hildreth, Byron News Walk into the garden of Michel and Jude Fanton in Old Bangalow Rd... Read More

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  • ABC Radio National interviews Michel and Jude on Bush Telegraph

    Tue, 16/10/2012 – Michel Fanton On 8th October Cameron Wilson interviewed us on ABC Radio National’s Bush Telegraph: http://www.abc.net.au/rural/telegraph/content/2012/s3606041.htm

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  • Seed Saving 101 Workshop in Alexandria Saturday 13th October

    Fri, 28/09/2012 – Jude Fanton OCCUPY THE SEED! Seed Saving 101, 9:00am – 4:00pm, Oct 13 2012, Alexandria Park Community Centre – Sydney This practical workshop will suit anyone interested in best-practice seed saving for their home and community, as well as anyone wanting to learn more about the ongoing challenges of seed sovereignty that... Read More

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  • Seed to Seed Keynote at Community Gardens Gathering

    Fri, 28/09/2012 – Jude Fanton On Friday 12th October Michel and Jude Fanton will make a keynote presentation on Seed to Seed Gardens at the Australian City Farms and Community Gardens Network 5th National Gathering at Randwick Sustainability Education Hub, Sydney Themes are Growing food • transforming place • creating culture … celebrating community one... Read More

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  • Diversify your Garden Workshop in Sydney 7th October

    Fri, 28/09/2012 – Jude Fanton This one-day workshop presented by Jude and Michel Fanton is being run by Permaculture Sydney Institute. It is the first of four events in Sydney to mark International Fortnight of Action for Seed Freedom. The workshop will include species of lesser known plants, the self-seeding garden, saving seeds of annual... Read More

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  • The Seed Savers’ Handbook is in 117 Libraries

    Tue, 18/09/2012 – Jude Fanton You may borrow “The Seed Savers’ Handbook” from any of the 117 libraries in Australia that hold it (at September 2012). 105 libraries as “The Seed Savers’ Handbook for Australia and New Zealand”. 12 libraries as “The Seed Savers’ Handbook”.

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  • Jude and Michel in Conversation with Costa Georgiadis, 6pm Friday 12th

    Fri, 28/09/2012 – Jude Fanton In Conversation on Seed Freedom, with Costa Georgiadis 107 Redfern Street, Redfern – free – sorry, booked out. http://milkwoodpermaculture.com.au/courses/details/125-seed-freedom-the-seed-savers-in-conversation-with-costa and http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10151438870282575&set=oa.358334370919195&type=1&theater

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  • Azolla: Fertiliser for Rice Paddies & ChickenFeed

    Thu, 23/08/2012 – Michel Fanton Azolla, a fern like floating algae, doubles in size every five days under warm conditions. In addition to its traditional cultivation as a bio-fertiliser for wetland paddy (due to its nitrogen fixing ability), azolla is becoming very popular in the sustainable production of livestock feed and general organic farming or... Read More

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  • How to Raise Seedlings in a Banana Leaf Pot

    Tue, 21/08/2012 – Jude Fanton Don’t have tiny pots for transplanting individual seedlings? Can’t afford to buy some. Use banana leaves! We first saw this in Vietnam, but here is a film we shot in Indonesia showing pots made of banana leaves! FILM CLIP: At Permaculture organisation, IDEP, near Ubud, Bali, Indonesia, PR person, Roberta... Read More

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  • How to Dry Seeds in a Wet Climate

    Tue, 21/08/2012 – Jude Fanton While in Bali, Indonesia, in 1999 we met with the founder of IDEP, then a reasonably new NGO for the promotion of sustainable agriculture and Permaculture. To our delight, now, in August 2012, they have a thriving seed saving set-up. FILM CLIP: At Permaculture organisation, IDEP, near Ubud, Bali, Indonesia,... Read More

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  • Rollinia Mania

    Fri, 29/06/2012 – Michel Fanton Wet winter months are the time to harvest Rollinia deliciosa here at 28.3º latitude south. We heard that they are strictly tropical but here in the coastal subtropics of Australia, they give us great crops and handle very well our wet boggy soils near the sea in Byron Bay Australia.... Read More

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  • How we Dry Black Bamboos

    Fri, 22/06/2012 – Michel Fanton See our video about how we dry and store Timorese Black Bamboo poles, upright so they dry evenly. Timor Black (Lako) is very beautiful in the garden as it forms an open clump. It is a very light bamboo and quite useful for making containers but it is not a... Read More

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  • Seed Saving Workshop in Auckland

    Thu, 19/04/2012 – Jude Fanton Auckland NZ, Sat 21/4 Michel and Jude Fanton will give a full-day seed saving workshop. At 14 Erson Avenue, Royal Oak Cost: $20, 10am-4pm. Bookings Trish 0212034510

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  • Malaysian Seed Network on National TV and in National Press

    Wed, 14/03/2012 – Jude Fanton Michel and Jude Fanton were invited onto Malaysia’s NTV7’s Breakfast Show, a national television show to announce the launch of a Malaysian Local Seed Network, called “Eats, Shoots and Roots”, in January. Coordinator, Sabina Arokiam wrote three articles for the newspaper, Utusan Malaysia. IMAGES: The Breakfast Show; the three double... Read More

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  • Seeds Saved by Former Homeless in Malaysia

    Wed, 14/03/2012 – Michel Fanton Alex Arokiam, has offered to the Malaysian Local Seed Network, Eats Shoots and Roots, to reproduce local varieties of vegetables that he has collected in the gardens of his three shelters for homeless men.

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  • Seed Savers in The Age

    Tue, 13/03/2012 – Jude Fanton Michael Green, freelance journalist, who regularly writes for The Age newspaper, had a piece on Seed Savers published in their Greener Homes on Sunday 11th March 2012. See http://michaelbgreen.com.au/seed-saving

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  • “Our Seeds” at Festival in Giessen, Germany

    Tue, 29/11/2011 – Michel Fanton “Our Seeds” was shown at the film festival “Globale Mittelhessen” held in Giessen from 18th-27th November. Organiser, Monika Scarf reports: “The reactions are all positive of course. In your film we especially liked the community between the people and their respect for nature. It leaves a feeling of harmony. And... Read More

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  • Former Interns Run Seed Exchanges in Japan

    Sat, 27/11/2010 – Jude Fanton Seed exchanges are taking off in Japan! We recently received news from Ai Kami, one of our former Japanese interns in Saitama. Ai trained with us for a few weeks at the Seed Centre, Byron Bay in 2003 and reports that she, her husband, Kami, and another former intern, Midori,... Read More

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  • Seed Savers Tour: North Portugal, Andalucia and Aragon, Spain

    Thu, 17/11/2011 – Jude Fanton Michel and Jude Fanton are on a speaking tour of Portugal from 4th to 13th November. They are attending and speaking the national seed savers’ gathering, showing their film, “Our Seeds”, giving workshops and teaching on an Introduction to Permaculture workshop. Please see the programme below. The Seed Savers screening... Read More

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  • Screening Our Seeds in the UK

    Wed, 10/11/2010 – Michel Fanton The Schumacher College in Devon UK opened its heart and mind to welcome Seed Savers in November 2010. We had the pleasure and the privilege to meet Stephan Harding at the helm and to get the feedback and questions from a wide bracket of students. Earlier in London we were... Read More

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  • Supermarket Food vs the Seed You Know

    Mon, 12/09/2011 – Michel Fanton If you have ever tasted vegetables grown from your own seeds, the supermarket ones lack taste (read they are nutrition-poor). The solution is to grow your own food with tasty varieties you or friends have bred or conserved from local seeds. Peasants very much do just that.

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  • Workshops with Bellingen Seed Savers in September 2011

    Sat, 27/08/2011 – Jude Fanton All the pleasure is ours when we visit Local Seed Networks. We love it! This time we were in Bellingen, so close to ancient rainforests, in the northern rivers of NSW. Coordinator of Bellingen Seed Savers Irene Wallin organised a film screening on Saturday 17th September and a one day... Read More

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  • Give Peas A Chance

    Thu, 18/08/2011 – Jude Fanton This design was painted on a large bed sheet by Kathlyn Brown a fabulous volunteer here at Seed Savers HQ in Byron Bay. IMAGE: Give Peas a Chance poster

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  • Film Clips from Woodford Festival 2010

    Mon, 08/08/2011 – Jude Fanton Watch two film clips taken at the December 2010 Woodford Folk Festival in Australia. Dominique Finney coordinator of the Folk Medicine Programme interviews Jude and Michel Fanton. Spontaneous tattooing of “Love is the Seed” at DVD signing.

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  • Rare Cabbage Setting Seeds in the Sub-tropics

    Mon, 08/08/2011 – Jude Fanton Film clip we made on how an African cabbage, Brassica carinata, produces seeds in our gardens at 28° south in Byron Bay, Australia. It is a different species to the common cabbage, Brassica oleracea, and grows to two metres, producing enough leaves to warrant the varietal name of “Women Meet... Read More

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  • Seeds and Pesticides Connection

    Sat, 06/08/2011 – Jude Fanton Here in Ranau, a small administrative town at 1200 metres altitude in Sabah, Malaysia, unsuspecting, small-time market gardeners buy seeds and pesticides in shop like this. Even though the highlands of Borneo are a few degrees from the equator, their very fertile soils, cool nights and warm days means market... Read More

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  • Film Clip on Selling Pesticides to Unsuspecting Farmers in Sabah

    Fri, 05/08/2011 – Jude Fanton This is one of a dozen videos that we shot and posted in our ‘Pushing Pesticides’ playlist on Seedsavers Youtube Channel. We are in Kundasang a little village, in the highlands of Sabah, Borneo. Nothing evil on the part of the seller. He does not know himself that appropriate clothing... Read More

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  • Film Clip on Selecting Marigold for Seed

    Wed, 27/07/2011 – Michel Fanton Watch our film clip on creating a new variety of marigold. One of our varieties of marigolds planted here in Byron Bay Australia has thrown some striped bright yellow flowers amongst the darker ones. We tag the lighter flowers that we would like to reproduce for next planting. When the... Read More

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  • Biodiversity and Health: a course on edible biodiversity near Cairns Australia

    Thu, 09/06/2011 – Michel Fanton Julianne is hosting a course in Far North Queensland with Michel and Jude of Seed Savers. This is happening this coming weekend see details below. Preserving Our Food Biodiversity Two Workshops with Jude and Michel Fanton, founders of The Seed Savers’ Network Sat 11th June Seed Saving Workshop · Background... Read More

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  • Film clip interview of Michel and Jude Fanton

    Sun, 05/06/2011 – Jude Fanton Australian cultural icon, Woodford Folk Festival with an attendance of over 100 000, invited Michel and Jude Fanton of Seed Savers to give three presentations in December 2010 north of Brisbane. They were on The Nexus between Garden and Health, on Trends in the Pacific Diet and a Natural Health... Read More

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  • Eat it or Lose it: Pine Nuts

    Tue, 03/05/2011 – Michel Fanton The better I can identify trees, the better my diet becomes, and the more diversity I replant in the garden, orchard and forest. If you recognise useful trees you can squirrel their seeds away, a free source of planting material, as well as food. Here we look at conifers that... Read More

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  • GMO Rape Seeds Threaten Major Japanese Vegetables, Grandmothers Resist

    Tue, 01/03/2011 – Jude Fanton One of our former interns during 2001, Masami S, writes from Japan: One thing I am concerned about is GMO rape [canola] seeds. They are scattered beside the road from the port to the mill. The situation is especially bad in Mie and Chiba. We Japanese are proud and fond... Read More

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  • Concentration of Ownership of Seeds

    Wed, 02/02/2011 – Jude Fanton Since 1995 the speed of take-overs of seed companies has increased astronomically. Now some 75% of all seed companies are owned by these nine corporations: – Monsanto, Bayer, Rhone Poulenc, Dupont, Syngenta, BASF, Hoechs, Novartis and Geigi. Most of these used to be either chemical or pharmaceutical companies. They retain... Read More

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  • Alive in Sabah with Stimulating Options

    Wed, 01/12/2010 – Jude Fanton After typing this blog, I might go back to doing a Twitter, then again, I could do another blog, or a Facebook entry, continue editing the 150 youtube film clips that Michel has generated, or I might be tempted to update our website, choose images for our Powerpoint presentations at... Read More

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  • Community Seed Saving book for the Pacific available free as pdf

    Thu, 16/09/2010 – Jude Fanton Clearly written and beautifully illlustrated, this 70 page book is a practical guide for saving seeds in the villages of the Pacific. We provide it gratis as a pdf here as it is out of print. UPDDATE 07/2014: Available from our Tools and Resources The book was written in 2002... Read More

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  • Seed Savers directors gave presentations in Serbia and Austria

    Sat, 11/09/2010 – Jude Fanton Michel and Jude Fanton will take part in a round table with AVEN in Toulouse on 9th October 2010. Message in French: Ils seront a Toulouse du 7 octobre pour un peu pres deux semaines, puis Paris jusqu’au 28 octobre. The Fantons presented their documentary and gave a presentation on... Read More

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  • Long lives in Croatia

    Sat, 04/09/2010 – Jude Fanton Purslane is often claimed as one of the reasons that Mediterranean people are long-lived. Our visit to the cemetery of a small Croatian fishing village, Privlaka, out from the ancient city of Zadar on the Dalmatian coast, was revealing. People die at the average age of eighty. See film clip... Read More

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  • Whole Culinary Garden Workshops held each year in Byron Bay

    Tue, 08/06/2010 – Jude Fanton How to design, install and use a whole culinary garden. Each week has theory, practicals in the extensive gardens, an exercise indoors and handouts. You’ll go home with seeds and other planting materials. We collect and prepare a vegetarian lunch together from the garden, with many raw foods and ferments.... Read More

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  • Successful Regional Seed Savers Conference

    Thu, 03/06/2010 – Jude Fanton Castlereagh Seed Savers ran a successful regional conference in Mudgee last weekend, 30th and 31st May 2010. Dennis Grimshaw reported there were over forty people attending. Seven Local Seed Networks were represented: Castlereagh Seed Savers, Leichhardt Seed Savers, Permaculture Southern Highlands Seed Savers, Illawarra Seed Savers, Wollondilly Seed Savers, Permaculture... Read More

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  • Workshops on seed saving in Victoria in April 2010

    Wed, 24/03/2010 – Jude Fanton There will be two seed saving events with Jude and Michel Fanton in Eltham and Violet Town in Victoria, Australia on the weekend of 10th and 11th of April 2010. Saturday 10th April – Teaching seed saving with Jude and Michel Fanton Venue: Edendale Farm in the town of Eltham... Read More

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  • OK Magazine Loves Seed Savers

    Sat, 20/03/2010 – Michel Fanton Asked to be naked for a cause, society agent Jonathan Pease has taken his clothes off for OK magazine (along with other celebs from Triple M, Miss Universe) to raise awareness about the issues they support. Jonathan chose Seed Savers, bared it and OK donated one thousand dollars to Seed... Read More

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  • Oyster Bay Preschool Creates Sunflower Seed Game

    Thu, 25/02/2010 – Jude Fanton Email 18/02/10 Hi Jude and Michel, I hope you remember us as we certainly remember you for your support to our Sustainability Expo. A few years ago you very kindly donated a book for our raffle at our Sustainability Expo. Well that was an inspiration to us and we have... Read More

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  • India bans GE eggplant – Monsanto ‘fakes’ safety data

    Wed, 24/02/2010 – Jude Fanton The Indian Government has banned genetically engineered (GE) eggplant after the ex-Director of Monsanto India admitted the corporation provided ‘fake scientific data’ to regulators. In announcing the moratorium on GE eggplant, Indian Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh, said there was not enough evidence that GE foods were safe to eat and... Read More

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  • Seed Savers Stall at Major Kitchen Garden Project in Sydney

    Mon, 22/02/2010 – Jude Fanton CarriageWorks is a major performing arts centre in Sydney. Late 2009 a Kitchen Garden Project was created there. Three Local Seed Networks combined to have a stall at the Expo & Launch of Stage 2 on Saturday 6 February 2010. North West Sydney Community, Permaculture Sydney North and Paddington Community... Read More

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  • Organics Use Massive Amount of Plastic

    Fri, 19/02/2010 – Jude Fanton In the Cameron Highlands of Malaysia we interviewed an immigrant agricultural labourer, Mahmoud Rahid, from Bangladesh about the difference between local organic and conventional growing methods. He described he often had to spray conventional crops with what he called “medicine”, but he also did not like how organics are grown... Read More

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  • Cameron Highlands pay the price of vegetables for distant cities

    Fri, 19/02/2010 – Jude Fanton Cameron Highlands are near the centre of the Malay Peninsula. The rainforest-clad mountains reach 2500 metres. The area is blessed with plentiful rain, a cool and constant climate and fertile free-draining soils. Or should we say “cursed”? For these characteristics feed globalised trade. And there is a price; a much... Read More

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  • Feedback on our Film from New Zealand

    Fri, 19/02/2010 – Jude Fanton Louise Nikau writes about our film, ‘Our Seeds’ from New Zealand. Kia ora Jude I love it!!! The music, the message, the celebrations, we were inspired and we are planning our own celebrations. Everything was put together in such a beautiful way. We had a screening last year with a... Read More

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  • Former Intern Reports In

    Tue, 09/02/2010 – Jude Fanton Former intern, Matt Brown from Kentucky, made contact with Jude by email in January 2010 ‘I watched the videos of you putting Davidson plums to use and Michel bashing the Bunya nut! Ha! It reminded me of when Michel climbed a palm tree to cut out the fruit (growing in... Read More

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  • Contamination of US soya with GM maize

    Sun, 07/02/2010 – Jude Fanton Some 200,000 tonnes of US soya beans have been blocked at EU ports this year because they contained trace amounts of two varieties of GM maize that have not yet been approved by member states. Farmers’ groups have warned they face a “serious shortage” of livestock feed in a matter... Read More

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  • “Our Seeds” shown on New York TV

    Mon, 25/01/2010 – Jude Fanton Frank O’Neill, Independent Consultant and pro bono adviser to Seed Savers, New York, has expertly converted our film “Our Seeds” to a digital NTSC version for showing on TV in the USA. Here he reports on seven screenings for societies and on television in New York. There have been several... Read More

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  • School Gardens Powerpoint now available free for parents and teachers

    Fri, 15/01/2010 – Jude Fanton You can now see and show a 34 slide Powerpoint on why and how to create food gardens in schools in our resources section. www.seedsavers.net/resources/school-gardens-powerpoint Thank you to Fiona Campbell for professional help with Powerpoint layout and Bryan West at Fortress Learning in Queensland and John Brisbin of Boab Interactive... Read More

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  • Sink and Wall your Garden in Arid Zones

    Wed, 13/01/2010 – Jude Fanton A successful strategy to reduce evaporation, to protect plants from both drying hot and cold winds and to conserve water is the sunken walled garden. Here we see a grandiose garden in a massive fort complex and a modest urban vegetable garden, in the arid zone of western Rajasthan, India,... Read More

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  • ‘Living Lightly’ publishes article on our work in Herat, Afghanistan

    Wed, 09/12/2009 – Jude Fanton We worked in Herat, Afghanistan in 2002 and 2003 on helping the Faculty of Agriculture with their plans to conserving their local traditional varieties. Here is an article published in Living Lightly magazine, published by Positive News in the UK, in 2004.   IMAGE Article in Living Lightly magazine, UK.... Read More

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  • Bt cotton faked as organic

    Sat, 05/12/2009 – Jude Fanton The Hindu Times of 18th November 2009 reported that there are hundreds of cases of exporters of cotton falsely selling Bt cotton as organic.

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  • Tour of organic farms near Jharol

    Fri, 04/12/2009 – Jude Fanton We toured the rural areas around and near Jharol, Rajasthan, India, and met with three medium-scale farmers who organically grow vegetables, cereals, pulses and medicinal herbs. These farmers explained that it is difficult to make as much money organically as with conventional methods, though their inputs are cheaper.   There... Read More

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  • Ethical Feast, Udaipur, Rajasthan, India

    Fri, 04/12/2009 – John Brisbin Conversations around food -Ethical Feast in and around Udaipur 17th to 25th November 2009, presented by our webmaster and Feast organiser and major funder, John Brisbin Clearly, many of us have strong ideas about the recipe for a better world. It’s the challenge of ‘being the change’ that I find most... Read More

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  • Aid Agencies and Seed

    Fri, 04/12/2009 – Jude Fanton If aid agencies are to help the poorest of the farmers they may as well invest some of their funds in helping farmers, who practically all save some seeds, to create seed networks and community seed banks. We advise them to ask these questions: what is the local seed system... Read More

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  • Genepool Sacrificed for Yield

    Fri, 04/12/2009 – Jude Fanton Those who feed the cities grow crops such as okra, maize, onions, tomatoes, gingers and the pulses that typify Rajasthani cuisine on a large scale in the peri-urban area.   Farmers seem to be using commercial seeds (we have seen large empty packets of F1 hybrid eggplant and okra lying... Read More

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  • Diversity in the City

    Fri, 04/12/2009 – Jude Fanton In two weeks in and around Udaipur, Rajasthan, we have found there is greater diversity in food plants within the city walls than in rural areas. A typical city example is just under our window; a Shiva temple that hosts a school with mature neem, tamarind, guava, sugar apple, a... Read More

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  • Republican Grows Convict Seed for Monarch

    Fri, 04/12/2009 – Jeremy Coleby-Williams This lettuce came with the First Fleet in 1788 and we used to grow them at the Royal Botanic Gardens Sydney when I worked there in the 1990s. Now I am collecting seeds from my garden and will spread them far and wide, including to Buckingham Palace. I obtained this... Read More

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  • Tribal PhD serves spicy cup of tea of ten ingredients including pepper

    Thu, 03/12/2009 – Jude Fanton Dr Kussum Megwhal was born an untouchable and went on to gain her PhD in the significance of the Indian Constitution for untouchables. She writes and publishes on the many issues around the status of untouchables, meanwhile and maintaining contact with her village and land. Kussum has written 35 books... Read More

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  • Ethical Feast of Deep and Strong Flavours

    Wed, 25/11/2009 – Jude Fanton Udaipur, Rajasthan: We are stunned, even amazed, to arrive in this apparent fairyland of lakes, palaces, in the desert with night spectacles decorated by men in large orange turbans and beauties clothed in the brightest of colours studded with glitter. Our webmaster, John Brisbin, organised two evening feasts, one for... Read More

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  • Mishima Elementary School Collects and Saves Seeds

    Sun, 20/11/2009 – Jude Fanton The principal of Mishima Elementary school was concerned about a local variety of persimmon becoming hard to locate. He and Nikko-san, the head of Chiba Prefecture Museum, therefore devised a project to save this and other local varieties of local fruits and vegetables. IMAGE Jude and Michel Fanton, middle back,... Read More

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  • Beyond Organics in Ginza

    Sun, 18/11/2009 – Jude Fanton Dorobushi is a restaurant in Ginza, a smart shopping area of Tokyo. But it is different to all the others. The owner has made a commitment to using not only ingredients grown organically but those from natural farming method that does not use any inputs. They also eschew the use... Read More

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  • Natural Seed Network

    Sun, 17/11/2009 – Jude Fanton We visited the Natural Seed Network here in Chiba Prefecture, not far from Narita Airport to see how organic farmers run their seed bank.   IMAGE Director, Ishii-san, of the Natural Seed Network with their extensive seed collection Director, Ishii-san, showed us over the collection after visiting his mother-in-law, Kimie’s,... Read More

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  • Handbook in Japanese

    Sun, 16/11/2009 – Jude Fanton A meeting with our Japanese publishers in Tokyo revealed that the Japanese version our Seed Savers’ Handbook is still in demand, despite several other publications on seed saving since its release in 2002. IMAGE Cover of Japanese publication of The Seed Savers’ Handbook

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  • Kimie, Natural Seed Saver Par Excellence

    Sun, 15/11/2009 – Jude Fanton Commercial farmer, Kimie grows the most productive market garden with her own seeds and neither manure nor compost. Kimie showed us her seed collection that she stores in a fridge in her garden shed. IMAGE Kimie with two dried eggplants that she is keeping for seeds.   Modest in her... Read More

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  • Grandma Kiku-yo, name meaning ‘Chrysanthemum’

    Sun, 14/11/2009 – Jude Fanton This original seed saver totally inspired us. She collects every kind of seed imaginable, including the most delicate pulses such as mung and aduki beans and sesame seeds. Her garden is so complex and varied, including of course chrysanthemums.   IMAGE Kukiyo-san in her garden Mandarins and persimmon, or kaki... Read More

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  • Haiku of Climate Change Readiness

    Sun, 13/11/2009 – Jude Fanton IMAGE Huge concrete tetrapacks line the beaches Few rivers on the coastal plains of Japan remain wild and the coasts are almost totally lined with concrete blocks. At least they are ready for climate change sea rise and more storms. IMAGE Flotsam collects behind these piles of concrete. Haiku of... Read More

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  • Hervey Bay Seed Savers distributes seeds

    Sun, 12/11/2009 – Jude Fanton The Hervey Bay Seed Savers Network has just distributed 2000 packets of pigeon peas via letterbox drop around town with information on Transition Town Hervey Bay. We are slowly getting the word out there for self-sustainability in food and a low carbon diet. Thanks for the emails from Japan, what an experience.

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  • Organic Farmer Saves Seeds near Nagasaki

    Fri, 11/11/2009 – Jude Fanton Curious to catch up again after nine years with Iwasaki-san who has become a seed saving household name, we went to western Kyushu. Iwasaki-san is a successful and quite large scale commercial market gardener who grows most of his seeds, starting forty years ago. As a Japanese seed saving icon,... Read More

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  • Don’t you just love freshly picked wild mushrooms?

    Wed, 25/11/2009 – Jude Fanton  In Autumn the cow paddocks are full of these white Lepiote mushrooms that no-one else seems to eat. We have eaten thousands each Autumn this last thirty years. They taste like chicken. This year was a really good one. 600 Lepiotes came through our kitchen. IMAGE Jude playing the fool... Read More

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  • Kazuya, Seed Saver near Nagoya

    Fri, 10/11/2009 – Jude Fanton Kizuya-san is a young, new farmer who is very serious about his seed saving. He learnt farming only four years ago and started seed saving soon afterwards. Nagoya is in Aichi Prefecture and about fifty years ago, when the Japanese government brought in a system to register local vegetables, the... Read More

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  • Nothing-but-Lettuce near Mt Fuji

    Sat, 09/11/2009 – Jude Fanton The small village of Morimachi (meaning forest village) is in the area of Shizuoka, near Mt Fuji. But the forest has totally disappeared. To Japanese the village of Morimachi is now synonymous with lettuce. And it is no wonder for there are square kilometres of them in this wide flat... Read More

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  • Japanese Grandmas maintain local varieties

    Fri, 08/11/2009 – Jude Fanton While we can admire a market gardener who takes the initiative to save seeds of local varieties, it is home gardeners that maintain much more biodiversity, especially grandmothers. We were really keen to visit the Chiba Prefectural Museum’s Grandmas’ Garden project with one of our former interns, Mariko Hamiguchi. Arriving... Read More

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  • Living your Biodiversity

    Wed, 04/11/2009 – Jude Fanton Japan, November 2009 Biodiversity to me is not an abstract concept. It is something that tastes good, that you share with friends. It is also a feeling. I have vivid memories of biodiversity from my childhood. These are the main points of the introduction that Michel Fanton wrote to a presentation that he... Read More

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  • Biodiversity as Edible Art

    Wed, 04/11/2009 – Jude Fanton The Japanese are masters at eating diversely. One of our first interns, Masami Sakaban told me that her grandmother’s advice to her was to eat at least thirty ingredients a day. Often since then I have contemplated that her grandmother must have the same kind of gardens as we have.... Read More

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  • Report from Seed Savers’ Tour of Japan

    Wed, 28/10/2009 – Jude Fanton Seed Savers Japan tour, 22nd October to 8th November. Kanazawa city, Kyushu island, Nagoya city and Chiba Prefecture. Biodiversity Japan invited us to give the keynote speech at Biodiversity Symposium in Kanazawa city. Concept of seed saving is known but we hear not practised except by very few. We’ll meet... Read More

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  • Article on Seed Savers in Sydney Morning Herald’s ‘Good Living Magazine’

    Wed, 14/10/2009 – Michel Fanton Journalist Carli Ratcliff interviewed Jude and me when she attended one of our courses in Sydney late September. While her article of October 13th in the Sydney Morning Herald ‘Good Living Magazine’ is a fair representation of what we told her Carli concluded that Jude and I typically show farmers how to clean seeds and... Read More

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  • Yams to go at seed workshop

    Sun, 20/09/2009 – Michel Fanton  In Wollongong this Saturday Sat 19th held in beautifully diverse gardens. The community gardens are called ‘The Garden’ and are a truly inspirational Permaculture display with hundreds of fruit trees and other perennials and a complex and superbly maintained vegetable garden. The five hour course, free to locals, is full... Read More

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  • Seed Saving Events in Sydney, September 2009

    Tue, 15/09/2009 – Jude Fanton Michel and Jude Fanton will be in the Sydney and Woollongong areas from Thursday 17th to Sunday 27th September. They will present their ‘Our Seeds’ film in Forster on Thursday 17th and Wollongong on Friday 18th, give a presentation to Permaculture North at 7pm on Monday 21st in Lindfield and... Read More

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  • Vanuatu Colourful Food

    Thu, 27/08/2009 – Michel Fanton This last ten days we have been taking footage for the documentary ‘Our Roots’ for the Centre for International Agricultural Research and Development (CIRAD) in Espiritu Santo and Malekula. Now we are back in the capital Port Vila, the capital of the Republic of Vanuatu to log all the scenes for the editors. We... Read More

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  • Showings of “Our Seeds” in New York

    Thu, 17/12/2009 – Jude Fanton Frank O’Neill, Independent Consultant and pro bono adviser to Seed Savers, New York, has expertly converted our film “Our Seeds” to a digital NTSC version for showing on TV in the USA. Here he reports on seven recent screenings for societies and on television in New York: • Humanist Society of... Read More

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  • How did you start Seed Savers?

    Fri, 17/07/2009 – Michel Fanton Just reflecting on how we started Seed Savers in the 1980s… Jude and I became alarmed by the weird speed-dating going on between seed company owners and slickos from petroleum/pesticide corporations. Problem of liaison between seeds and chemical. One solution is community seed banks. All images from India The concentration... Read More

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  • Make Your Mark

    Thu, 16/07/2009 – Michel Fanton Television stations in Australia are required to fullfill their community duties by producing and regular screening community announcements. Guess what? Seed Savers was invited to participate in a thirty second advert. We turned up at Channel 10 studios in Sydney. The segment was shot in a cute little public park just... Read More

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  • Local Adaptations Do Happen

    Wed, 15/07/2009 – Michel Fanton We have shifted from “salvaging” seeds given to us as a group, to consciously creating local varieties out of them. Local varieties in a wide range of climates are now being adapted to local conditions. That happens every time we select plants candidates for seed saving and when we replant... Read More

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  • “Our Seeds” broadcast 15 times in Solomon Islands

    Wed, 03/06/2009 – Michel Fanton  One Television in the Solomon Islands screened ‘Our Seeds’ our one hour documentary, an unbelievable fifteen times. Fourteen repeats that is, at different time of the day so that the station would catch every type of audience. That is dedication… to the message we put out. Dorothy Wickham.  She is the... Read More

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  • Promoting Local Seed Systems in East Timor

    Fri, 15/05/2009 – Michel Fanton and Amy Glastonbury Raising awareness of the current level of seed diversity in East Timor and dispelling myths about the benefits of imported seeds over locally adapted seeds. Training in Oecussi: During their two-week visit to East Timor in November 2002 directors of Seed Savers, Michel and Jude Fanton, went... Read More

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  • Kristina Winters, our Associate in Chiang Mai

    Fri, 15/05/2009 – Jude Fanton Kristina works with the Karen Environmental and Social Action Network (KESAN), a local organisation in Chiang Mai, Thailand. The Karen people live in both Thailand and Burma where they have their own Karen State in the south-east. They are the third largest ethnic group in Burma. Kristina came for a... Read More

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  • Report from Film Promotion Tour of Vanuatu

    Thu, 14/05/2009 – Jude Fanton November 2008. We come to the end of our seventeen days in Vanuatu promoting ‘Our Seeds: Seeds Blong Yumi’. ‘Our Seeds: Seeds Blong Yumi’ was broadcast with three repeats on VBTC televison. Interviews on Radio Vanuatu and in the Daily Post put the message out to the urbanites and Efate-ans. We presented... Read More

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  • Permaculture? It does not cost the earth!

    Sat, 25/04/2009 – Michel Fanton The Seed Savers’ Network has its roots firmly planted in the Permaculture movement. Its founders, Michel and Jude Fanton, were practising Permaculture from the late 1970s and Permaculture founder, Bill Mollison, mentored its inception in 1986. If you are one of the lucky people who have been brought up on... Read More

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  • Kids, Nature and Food

    04/04/2009 Jude Fanton IMAGE Girl with massive daikon seed head in our Seed Savers Gardens. Kids love finding seeds, roaming through fruity forests and harvesting fruit Why every child should live in a diverse, complex and productive garden and learn how to harvest the wilds. There is an old saying that civilisation lost the plot... Read More

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  • Eat Your Weeds

    Fri, 20/03/2009 – Jude Fanton Westerners tend to look to the garden as their only source of fresh and home-grown produce, ignoring harvests from the wild and semi-cultivated areas. It is like looking at the Gross National Production as the sum total of what a nation produces, whereas non-traded items, such as home-grown fresh produce,... Read More

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  • More Antioxidants in Old Varieties of Apples

    Fri, 20/03/2009 – Jude Fanton The New Zealand Tree Crop Association commissioned assays and a full analysis of antioxidant levels in the skin and flesh of fifty-nine varieties of apples. The analysis found generally that traditional varieties and seedlings contained more antioxidants than commercial ones. This research will come as a shock to commercial apple... Read More

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  • Farmers Rice Varieties Flogged

    Fri, 20/03/2009 – Michel Fanton Rice farmers routinely save their own seeds. Massive collections have been made from their selections over the last few decades to be held in trust for public breeding programmes. Now these varieties are being sold off to create hybrid rice, a new phenomenon, that precludes seed saving. On 9 November... Read More

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  • Screening adventures

    Wed, 18/03/2009 – Michel Fanton In September 2008 we had an enlivening experience on our way to screening the film in a Solomon Islands village. The crossing to the steep volcanic island of Savo from the main island of Guadalcanal was by small motor canoe with neither floatation nor life jackets. Halfway there in rough... Read More

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  • Our Seeds Film shown on National Television in Papua New Guinea

    Wed, 11/03/2009 – Michel Fanton Our one hour documentary ‘Our Seeds: Seeds Blong Yumi’ was shown on national television, EMTV, in Papua New Guinea on April 22nd. It will soon be shown on the other national broadcaster, Kundu 2. We made ‘Our Seeds’ for Pacific audiences and released it in mid 2008. Since then TV... Read More

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  • Our Location

    Tue, 10/03/2009 – Jude Fanton We are located on the outskirts of Byron Bay, the most easterly point of Australia. The Seed Centre is one acre of Permaculture-inspired bio-diverse subtropical gardens. In 1998 we commenced the earthworks and planting. We put in 900 perennial plants and constructed nine large raised beds for annual vegetables. The... Read More

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  • Film on Seeds Available for Film Nights

    Mon, 09/03/2009 – Michel Fanton At times it was a real challenge shooting this one hour documentary on the keepers of diversity – we were once lost at night in a small canoe on very rough seas in the Solomon Islands. We shot it all, a hundred and sixty hours, in eleven countries. There is... Read More

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  • Papua New Guinea tales

    Sun, 08/03/2009 – Michel Fanton Here we are in Port Moresby promoting “Our Seeds: Seeds Blong Yumi” documentary and filming for our next films. Port Moresby has a terrible reputation for danger and looks dirty but we like the company on the dingy buses. Apologies to the westerners that do use them and I am... Read More

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  • Helping Save Traditional Varieties in Bulgaria

    Sun, 08/03/2009 – Jude Fanton In February 2002 we received this email and were happy to help by giving permission to adapt our Seed Savers’ Handbook for Bulgarian and Macedonian conditions. It was published within six months. My name is Roman Rathkov. I am agronomist & I am chairman of a Bulgarian NGO, Agency for... Read More

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  • Banana Diversity in an Outer Island of The Solomons

    Sun, 08/03/2009 – Jude Fanton Written September 2004 by Michel Fanton, one of the directors at The Seed Savers’ Foundation in Byron Bay, Australia, I have just returned from two weeks in the Solomon Islands, east of Papua New Guinea in the Pacific. His visit was to support the efforts of their partners the Kastom... Read More

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  • Seed Hunters or Future Poachers?

    Mon, 24/11/2008 – Michel Fanton The recent ABC documentary ‘Seed Hunters’ [1] presented some fascinating scenes from the weird world of plant-based patent prospecting. In the 60-min doco, we are introduced to Dr Ken Street, a veteran scientist and part of new breed of bio-prospectors dubbed Seed Hunters, suggesting capture and exploitation. Dr Ken is... Read More

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  • Report from Film Promotion Tour of Vanuatu

    30/11/2008 – Jude Fanton We came last week to the end of our seventeen days in Vanuatu promoting ‘Our Seeds: Seeds Blong Yumi’. ‘Our Seeds: Seeds Blong Yumi’ was broadcast with three repeats on VBTC televison. Interviews on Radio Vanuatu and in the Daily Post put the message out to the urbanites and Efate-ans. We... Read More

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  • Wild Harvesting the Adelaide Hills and Plains

    30/04/2006 – Jude Fanton Seeking mushrooms, picking berries, going nutting are all fond memories from my childhood. For me wild harvesting is one of those activities that is a birthright of every child. Apart from the huge excitement of finding delicious fruits and nuts apparently for free (though the effort of seeking and collecting is... Read More

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  • The Seed Savers’ Handbook in Bulgarian/Serbian/Macedonian

    Mon, 21/03/2005 – Jude Fanton The Bulgarian Seed Savers translated 30 pages of our “Seed Savers’ Handbook” (180 pages) into Bulgarian. It is available as a PDF to download at top right or to read onscreen from http://seedsavers.net/shop/home/tools-resources/the-seed-savers-handbook/ Bulgarian is also understood in Serbia and Macedonia and uses cyrillic script as in Russian and Greek.

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  • How to Save Seeds in the Pacific

    Sun, 21/03/2004 – Jude Fanton “Community Seed Saving for the Pacific” was written by one of our interns, Emma Stone, in 1999 while on placement in The Solomon Islands. There are loads of graphics of the locals performing all the processes. Download this wonderful resource if you are interested in the traditional food plants of... Read More

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  • Helping Afghanis Preserve Their Agricultural Traditions

    Sun, 08/03/2002 – Jude Fanton Seed Savers was invited by NICCO, a Japanese NGO, to present viable alternatives to the development blueprint imposed by aid agencies, multinational corporations and the UN for reconstructing Afghanistan after twenty three years of war. Here directors, Michel and Jude Fanton, tell about training they conducted in December 2002 in... Read More

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