About Bellingen Seedsavers

We are a group of like-minded growers of edible and useful heritage plant varieties in the Bellingen area of northeast New South Wales, Australia.

Our climate varies from frost-free coastal areas to inland river valleys and highlands with frosts. Bellingen has an average annual rainfall of 1507ml.

Thursday 27 June 2019

SeedSavers Video: "Our Seeds - Why save seeds and who does it?"

This is just the first 3 mins of our 57 min documentary on traditional food plants, that we shot in eleven countries. 

We took all the footage and made it in our editing suite in Byron Bay, Australia in 2008. "Our Seeds" has been shown on television in ten Pacific nations and on cable television in Manhattan NY in January 2010. We offer DVDs of "Our Seeds" for sale and work papers at www.seedsavers.net. 

Welcome to The Seed Savers' Network of Australia The Seed Savers' Network is an Australian-based organisation established in 1986 to preserve local varieties of useful plants. There are more than eighty Local Seed Networks for local gardeners around Australia. We are also active in forty countries so far. 

Gardening Australia Seed Saving Fact Sheet with video link

SERIES 21 Episode 32

Jerry says the most important seed saving rule is to save seeds from the best plants and to eat the rest. "It's important to only save seed from non-hybrid plants and these are commonly referred to as heritage, old-fashioned or open pollinated plants. They are the plants most likely to produce offspring - in the form of seed - that closely resemble their parents."

Watch the story

Saturday 22 June 2019

June 22 Solstice visit to David's food forest in Gleniffer

Established over ten years David now has a forest with paths under the tree limbs. About 30 Seed Savers attended and enjoyed the relaxed stroll on the paths, the food, the chat and the seed/plant sharing.

"Thanks to the 27 members that came - quite the eclectic crowd. A 2nd, then 3rd table, added, groaning under the weight of earthly delights. Fortunate timing brought us glorious weather, to celebrate the shortest day that heralds lengthening ones to come. A group headed off to marvel at the latest goings on the garden, David full of wise musings and cheeky wit as usual.

Others mingled by the cheery fire, sharing tips and swapping yarns.  A wonderful winter's day.

David's garden had plenty of trees carrying fruit (see photos). He had enough citrus to make a small mountain. There were also at least three different nut trees that had fruited / nutted recently. There was a macadamia, a candle nut and a Bunya. David had been given the Bunya in a pot and it is now a very impressive specimen. A seedling under the tree was passed on to another member to raise the next generation. Another member present also has Bunyas that are dropping cones. He has successfully gone from seed to seed!"


Red Grumichama


Come on Dad.

David and Sandy consult.

David and Sandy consult. Don looks on.

Now what is that tree? Here is the bean pod.
It turned out to be

Black Bean, Moreton Bay Chestnut or

Castanospermum australe

Gillian digs some of David's strawberries

Chatting and eating around the log fire.

Monday 10 June 2019

"Save Our Food. Free the Seed." : New York Times

These are a few excerpts from an article that spells out why we need to save our local seeds.

"The type of seed also dictates the fertilizer, pesticide and fungicide regimen, sold by the same company as part of the package, requiring a particular planter and sprayer (40 feet and 140 feet wide, respectively) and producing a per-acre yield that is startling, and startlingly easy to predict.

It is as if the seed is a toy that comes with a mile-long list of component parts you’re required to purchase to make it function properly.

We think that the behemoths of agribusiness known as Big Food control the food system from up high — distribution, processing and the marketplace muscling everything into position. But really it is the seed that determines the system, not the other way around."

"The seeds in my palm optimized the farm for large-scale machinery and chemical regimens; they reduced the need for labor; they elbowed out the competition (formally known as biodiversity). In other words, seeds are a blueprint for how we eat."

"We should be alarmed by the current architects.

Just 50 years ago, some 1,000 small and family-owned seed companies were producing and distributing seeds in the United States; by 2009, there were fewer than 100. Thanks to a series of mergers and acquisitions over the last few years, four multinational agrochemical firms — Corteva, ChemChina, Bayer and BASF — now control over 60 percent of global seed sales."

"According to a report published by the Organic Seed Alliance, most large-scale organic crop acreage is planted with conventional seed. Despite a recent uptick in the production of organic seed, there isn’t enough to go around. “Not if you want to plant 200 acres,” one midsize organic farmer told me. “Not even if you want to plant 50 acres.”
Farmers find themselves hobbled by weak plants that were designed to be weaned on chemicals.

It’s not hard to see why organic food is expensive. Farmers have to price the organic carrots to reflect the cost of production in a world designed for them to fail. In the checkout aisle, we wince. A consensus is reached: Organic carrots are a noble idea but not a practical one to feed our growing population."

Tuesday 4 June 2019

Vale Seed Saver David Wallin

Dear Seed Savers,

We are sorry to inform you of the sudden passing of David Wallin.
Irene Wallin, supported by David every step of the way, initially founded the Bellingen Seed Savers as part of Transition Bellingen. 

David and Irene were key people in our Seed Savers group until just a few years ago, when they had to become less involved due to declining health.
David Wallin at a Seed Savers stall

There will be drinks, nibbles and tall tales at the Old Butter Factory, this Thursday, June 6, 2:00-4:00pm to celebrate David's life. All who knew him are welcome.
David and Irene Wallin

Monday 3 June 2019

Fruiting in the Bellinger Valley in late May.

A seed grown Pomegranate fruit
"The fruit mature between March and May (in Australia) and can be picked a little before full maturity and ripened in storage. In areas where rain occurs during harvest, pick the fruit before they are fully ripe to avoid the skin becoming waterlogged and splitting." Green Harvest

Perhaps this fruit, the first from this tree, should have been picked then left to ripen.


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