The Connected Seeds Library is a community seed library that lives at Spitalfields City Farm. It was established by researchers at Queen Mary University of London in collaboration with staff and volunteers at the farm, as part of a research project exploring how digital technology can support more sustainable food growing in the city.
The library is a resource for local communities who wish to grow their own food from locally-adapted, open-pollinated seed. You can become a member – or Seed Guardian – of the library and take some seed home to grow. You are encouraged to return some seeds to the library at the end of the season, to make sure that stocks are not depleted. Many of the varieties in the library have cultural meaning for guardians, as they connect them to their heritage or country of origin, which is particularly rich in this part of London, due to large scale immigration and ethnic diversity.
The seed library has been augmented with digital technology to make it interactive. Visitors to the library can hear the voices of guardians talking about their experiences of growing, and see pictures from their gardens. This website is an online version of the library, where you can see the same pictures, and hear the voices of guardians. The website also contains background about the research project as well as guides to growing and information about the technology used within the research.
By celebrating and sharing the rich knowledge and experiences of the Seed Guardians who donated seed to the library, it is our hope that others will be inspired to try their hand at growing for seed. By sharing open-pollinated seeds within local communities and preserving heritage or unusual varieties adapted to local climates, the interactive Connected Seeds Library is attempting to turn the tide on the UK’s privatised seed system and rebuild our seed sovereignty.
The research project also produced an exhibition, at Rich Mix Cultural Foundation in east London from January 31st – February 12th 2017), a book that you can download, and a documentary film (link coming soon). You can access more information about the sensors and technology behind the project including guides and code from here.
For inquiries about the research project please contact Nick Bryan-Kinns by email:
For inquiring as about becoming a member of the seed library please contact the farm
or telephone: 0207 247 8762