Transition is about the head, heart and hands. Seed sowing definitely has a hands-on element, but we are all learning how to adapt to the new online way of doing things. Here is an example of how Transition Bondi adapted…

Transition Bondi offered their first zoom workshop – Savouring Seeds, this month. It was fun to organise, and exciting to be learning how to operate the video-meeting platform. As a first-time, we made it free of charge (five didn’t turn up), and had a mix of experienced gardeners and people tip-toeing their way toward growing their first veggies. Ten people attended.

I love the sense of exploration, ‘risk-taking’ and creativity that the Transition Towns movement invites. Catching the momentum of pursuing a new project, and finding collaborators to ‘play’ with.

The huge topic of seeds can be approached from many angles: growing veggies in urban environments, the sharing economy, agriculture and the hazards of monocultures, botany and plant reproduction, fostering biodiversity, soil management, saving our pollinators, the threat of giant corporations…

Where to begin, and how to proceed?!

We decided on a simple structure as a launching pad for these topics: Why? What? When? Where? How? and What if?

  • WHY are seeds important? Why are monocultures a problem?
  • WHAT are seeds – the lifecycle of plants (a game of sequencing pictures of the lifecycle of a bean plant was a good way to convey this information). What are different shapes, containers and forms of seeds? What are methods of dispersal?
  • WHERE do you find seeds on a plant?
  • WHEN do they form? When do you collect seed?
  • HOW to save seeds? (Stories from those present filled out this picture). How to plant seeds? How to use them – apart from planting?
  • WHAT if (miscellaneous questions)….my garlic develops a seed head, is that as good a method of reproduction as sowing the bulb?

We included a list of Family names of common edible plants.

We asked some fun questions:

  • What’s the difference between an egg and a seed?
  • Is coffee a seed? Coconut?
  • What about grains?

And we drew on the following resources:

  • Seed Savers’ Handbook by Michel & Jude Fanton, A Seed Savers Book 1993
  • New Internationalist:  Seed Savers the frontline against world hunger    Sept 2010
  • Sustainable Food  by Michael Mobbs  A Choice Book 2012
  • Video by Vandana Shiva (15 mins) spelling out the global issues relating to GMO and peasant farmers, and food security.


by Kit Shepherd, Transition Bondi May 2020