This is the agenda for the Seed and Tree Festival

Fergus Walker
13th January, 2016

We are pleased to announce our updated programme for our Seed and Tree Festival next month, and are excited by the chance for some really good discussions, some productive practical sessions and some merrymaking with wassailing, curry, and ceilidh. See below for details.

You can book your ticket for the event on

Our resolve to transcend the New Year hibernation slump has been heightened by news of the devastating floods across the north east Scotland and northern England. It leaves us with some pretty big questions about climate change and the effect global warming will have on our land, the type of agriculture which is best adapted to unpredictable extreme weather, and the degree of radical change that is required to meet these new challenges. We need to be thinking more and more not just about how agriculture works and the way we grow our food, but also thinking about what we grow. New forms of agriculture and new weather will need types of plants – and monoculture industrial crops may need to give way to more resilient lower yield hardier crops.

So we have been inspired to get the word out as far as we can to start this important discussion on safeguarding Scotland’s cultivated food heritage (new and old) – starting with seeds and orchards.

There are a number of important groups already operating in Scotland, but we believe there is need for a more concerted vision. For example there is the amazing SASA, which has a collection of around 16000 accessions (9000 Vegetables, 4500 Cereals, 1050 Fodder crops, 120 Oil and Fibre crops and more than 1000 are potato varieties.). There is the National Council for the Conservation of Plants and Gardens - but their focus is on general horticulture rather than food. There are also multiple small groups, individuals, businesses and others who are doing excellent work, but what is Scotland’s vision for food sovereignty? Because we have passed the time when we wait for other people to define our food system – what Lesley Riddoch calls the ‘stand there till we fix you’ culture. We have passed the time when a distant centralised organisation is going to look after everything on our behalf – so when it comes to the food that is grown in Scotland, we should be taking an interest in what we grow, who grows it, whether is nutritionally beneficial, makes sense within an ecologically sound agriculture system, and to what degree varieties have been bred to suit a global commodity market instead of bred as food for the common good.

Event Programme

9.45- 10.15 Registration


 10.15am Opening Plenary

  • Food for the common good starts with seeds- Fergus Walker of Common Good Food
  • Keeping our shared seed heritage alive - Neil Munro from the Heritage Seed Library


11 - 11.20am Break 

 11.20 - 1pm Workshops / Discussions (2 sessions) 


 Plus children's activities and more to be confirmed. Would you like to run a seed-related session? Please get in touch with the organisers if you have something exciting, interesting or inspirational to contribute!

1 - 2pm Lunch – Stalls and seed swap featuring the Common Good Food Seed Kist – a mixture of Scotland-specific seeds free for you to take away. Please bring any seeds of your own to swap or add to the growing collection.


 2-2.30pm  Orchard Collective Update. A report back on key orchard happenings over the last year from the Orchard Collective Scotland

2.30 - 3.30pm Workshops/discussions

  •  Tree grafting demonstration with Andrew Lear, Appletreeman
  • How run your own Wassailing celebration with Catherine Lloyd
  • Wassailing singing workshop with Jane Lewis
  • Lantern-making, bird feeder making and other family activities.
  • Orchard Stories with Marie Louise Cochrane AKA Mrs Mash the Storytelling Cook
  • Open discussion: Can we set up a Scottish Seed Library?


 4 - 6pm Wassail -  Torchlit procession to nearby Rose Garden Orchard, with lanterns, music, song and mulled apple juice. Wassailing is an age-old custom to ensure a good crop of fruit in the coming year.


6-10pm Curry and Ceilidh

Join us for a merry end to an action-packed day. Curry prepared by Babu Bombay Street Kitchen using seasonal local veg will be served at 6pm, followed by a rousing ceilidh withAnnasach. There will be a bar serving local wines, cider, craft ales and soft drinks.  Children are welcome to the ceilidh.

For further information before booking tickets, contact us on do get in touch if you are part of a community group or organisation that would like to have a stall or participate in the seed swap.