The Sowing Seeds Project is an initiative started by gardeners who used to be part of an urban farming co-operative called the Gnomes (aka Melbourne Urban Farmers), and have come out of hiatus to join the swell of folks, such as the newly formed Permaculture Crisis Response Group, aiming to provide connection, food and wellbeing to Melbourne communities during the COVID-19 crisis and beyond. The Sowing Seed project aims to increase food resilience in Melbourne, by supporting people to grow vegetables in their home and wider neighbourhood.
The project was started after the wide scale panic buying at the beginning of the Coronavirus Pandemic, which made vegetable seedlings and seed immediately hard to find and purchase for the average person with a green thumb or to provide for their family. Getting food growing in communities is exactly why 'Gnomes' was started many years ago... and why some of us felt the need to come back to start this project at this important time. We want to help people who want to grow food, in these stressful times of social upheaval and financial pressures, by literally spreading the seed. Seeds are potent, an idea... a pathway to resilience and a symbol of our hope.
There's been lots of interest in The Sowing Seeds project! Which means lots of people are eager to get their own garden pumping and start more food growing in their own gardens and communities!
We are therefore asking anyone interested in receiving seed to fill in this form to register to order seed, to gauge numbers and allocate 'lots' of seed, as well as making admin and communications ongoing much easier. After you register you will be contacted - either by your local Node (humans in local areas facilitating the Seed distributions) or by Gnomes HQ - to confirm your 'lots' and lock in final orders before distribution begins rolling out from Wednesday 14th April!
For more details, see below FAQ's or get in touch through email: firstname.lastname@example.org
* HOW IT WORKS: We have ordered a variety of veggie seeds in bulk, to then on sell at low cost across our networks. We have chosen a variety of edible plant species to cover most needs - prioritising resilience, productivity, health/nutrients, community needs, weather and ecological diversity, and local propagation potential. It is our hope that when people grow these veggies, that they allow some of their plants to go to seed, so that these may be saved, and create further abundance for you to use ongoing, and to share with your community! We will be separating different veggie seeds into ' lots', with some seed from each edible going into those lots. We're aiming to focus energies on distributing these lots rather than filling thousands of orders for different seeds. This eases the project resources - minimising labour, risk, and handling - and hopefully assists community to achieve a diversity of nutritious edibles to build our local 'food bowls'. We will be sending out growing info with each purchase, including info on how to save seeds, and your very own seed bank!
*WHAT SEEDS DO I GET? Seed lots will offer an array of between 10 to 20 varieties of yummy Autumn, Winter, and Spring vegetables, many of which you'll be able to self seed ongoing!
*WHEN CAN I GET MY SEEDS? Seed will be arriving at Gnomes central this week, and we'll be in contact as we're rolling out distribution (via contactless collection and postage delivery) and ongoing - until the seed runs out ! Orders will be available to post the week starting 20th April.
Fear not, there will be enough seed to meet the initial interest in the project. And if there is any remaining seed after community allotment, it will be offered to NFP groups in local communities who are supporting wider movements whilst also growing food for the most vulnerable people at this time. If you would like to support these ventures, there will be opportunity to do so soon...
* WHAT WILL I ACTUALLY GET IN MY 'LOT' ? You will receive your seeds, packaged according to individual varieties, made up as a lot, and each lot is made up of multiple seasons worth of food production for you and your family. We will also be distributing information on how to propagate your seeds, raise seedlings and transplants, care for your veggies, and how to practice seed saving and sharing, so that you never have to worry about these sort of scarcities again!
* HOW MUCH WILL IT COST ? As much as we would like to give you a firm answer, alas at this stage we cannot. We are in discussions with a variety of potential partnerships, including Darebin City Council, and negotiating how best to provide this opportunity to this community at the lowest cost possible. We are trying to make this happen as quickly as possible, as cheaply as possible, but with that comes some need for flexibility in the interim.
We do some private investors who are wanting to support the project, and hoping for more of this community investment, whilst also working toward grants to hopefully help subsidise the cost to consumers. Though an aim is to provide the seed for free ongoing, this is not realistically possible at this stage. However, Seed lots will be provided at cost price, and depending on how many seeds are lots, with the option to pay what you feel (eg. more or less if you feel draw) It also feels important to our values, and to human equality, to prioritise our most vulnerable communities and be inclusive to all individuals regardless of finances.. We therefore stress that, No one will be turned away for lack of money.
We hope to cover extraneous costs and that some of the labour involved in setting up this project will be supported by our communities who see the value this work. We will call for any financial contributions during the Ordering phase, and invite contributions on a pay as you feel basis, whilst providing transparent awareness of the costs (materials and labour) involved. And beyond that, we stand by the greater value of seed, thus the efforts undertaken so far and continuing ongoing in this Project to nourish community and value our local food growth in a time of building community resilience.
HOW MUCH SEED WILL I GET? We are excited to say, you'll be getting Seeds from each specie in each lot, from yummy Winter-Spring varieties, most of which you'll then be able to self seed ongoing! We aren't giving specific numbers yet, as some lots will vary. You may indicate preferences for individual seeds below, to potentially influence future directions, but this is not to order individual seed types in this round.
WHAT IS THE TIMELINE FOR DISTRIBUTION? Our bulk order of Seed will be arriving at Gnomes central this week, and we'll be rolling out distribution (via contactless collection and postage delivery) following from Thur 4th, to arrive later this week and ongoing, until the seed runs out !
CAN I HELP DISTRIBUTE THE SEEDS THROUGH MY NETWORKS? For anyone interested in being a distribution 'Node', please see the Registration form for Nodes. Nodes operate as a hub offering local collection to help The Seed Project reach wider communities in need. Check the box in the form below if you'd like more info or feel free to contact us at email@example.com
THANK YOU for your patience in this process, and your commitment to an unusual but nourishing community initiative, as we roll out this ambitious project in a stressful and constrained time. We are excited to get those Seeds sown, and watch them spread :)
WE LOOK FOWARD TO SOWING THESE SEEDS WITH YOU!
with gratitude and respect,
Gnomes - aka Melbourne Urban Farmers.