seeds of resistance


6-8 September ’99, Cambridge.

It came together in less than two weeks, three ambitious women determined to make it happen.
It ran parallel to the World Seed Conference. Seeds of Resistance brought together people to address in whose hands is the future of the seed, biodiversity, and therefore global food security. There were local Cambridge people, gardeners and activists from around the country, and people came from organisations such as Woman Environmental Network, Genetix Snowball and Henry Doubleday Research Association.


On Monday people arrived and we transformed a church with stalls, displays, library, and seeds. There were some discussions and workshops through-out the day.

“How can we sustain biodiversity at a local, national and international level.” Presented by Patrick Mulvany, from Intermediate Technology.

“Why saving seeds is important.” Given by Mary Eastwood, a longtime guardian for the Henry Doubleday Heritage Seed Library. Inspiration day ended with Pat Mooney from Rural Advancement Foundation International, talking about the corporate agenda with biotechnology. Somehow we got sidetracked considering the future and nanotechnology.

Actions included distributing information and disrupting the delegates from the seed conference at their plush banquet, symbolic, considering the timely issue of food security. Outside the actual conference there was some street theatre selling illegal or patented seeds through prison bars. There was also Arnold Swartznegger, a Terminator character walking around talking to delegates. Many seeds and leaflets were given out.

Inside the conference people took the stage during a session on privatising the seed in developing countries, read a statement, and tried to engage in dialogue. Many of the delegates were interested but the organisers got the police to remove us, after making all the delegates leave the room. Outside there was some useful exchange with industry people, surprisingly┬ů.

The next one.

There was consensus to have another Seeds of Resistance gathering, where we could also hold a seed exchange. This time more advanced publicity could be done to attract more people. Are you interested in building a massive network of seed savers and guerrilla gardeners, or creating community supported agriculture, community seed banks, and exchanges? If so please get in touch so we can send you details of the next gathering or even better so you can help organise it.

More coming┬ů.

Seeds of resistance was an experiment in organising a 3 day event where people come together to plan creative action. In theory it is an empowering, community building exercise which opens the space for skill-sharing and exchange. There will be an analysis of this strategy soon.