Archive for April, 2013

Traditional and heritage seeds at risk from EU

Friday, April 26th, 2013

DG SANCO (the General Directorate of the EU for Sanitary and Consumer affairs) wants to introduce  a new regulation to control seed marketing. They do not have the agreement of the other affected DGs (agriculture and environment) so they are taking their plans directly to the EU Commission.  The commission will vote on May 5, but commissioners are supposed to state their position by April 28.  So if you want to protest this will need to be done soon.

The regulation is designed with the interests of large seed producers in mind.  The basic problem is that it will discourage the production of unusual or heritage or traditional seed varieties.  Any grower who wants to market or swap a seed variety will need to get the variety listed.  To do this the seeds must be submitted to an expensive testing process.  It is possible that strictly speaking it will become illegal for even amateur gardeners like allotmenteers to collect and swap their own seeds.  Continuing to grow unusual varieties could become prohibitively expensive or even illegal .

To learn more about these issues visit  To register a protest send an email to Catherine Ashton, the UK representative on the commission to encourage her to vote against this proposal.   The email address is  Stress that the proposed legislation will  affect the culture and biodiversity of the UK and restrict the freedom of farmers to  use the seeds And varieties they want to.

People’s Post Code Trust Small Grants

Tuesday, April 16th, 2013

The People’s Post Code Trust (England, Scotland and Wales) small grants programme has re-opened for applications.  Through this programme the Trust offers grants between £500 – £10,000 to small organisations and community groups for projects lasting up to 6 months in the areas of

  • poverty prevention
  • advancement of health
  • community development
  • public sports
  • human rights
  • environmental protection

Allotment association projects could well fit into several of these categories.  A Scottish project that was supported recently was the Moray Arts Centre which was awarded £2000 to run a play therapy group for children with autism.  The closing date for applications in this round of grants is 24 May.



Allotment Legislation Consultation Launched

Tuesday, April 16th, 2013

The Scottish Government has decided, as a result of responses to the Community Empowerment and Renewal Bill consultation, to look at the possibility of modernising the legislation relating to allotments in Scotland.  A consultation process was launched on Monday April 15th and the process will close on Friday May 24th.  The time frame is  short, and the government is justifying this on the grounds that interested people will already have thought about the issues during the CERB consultation.

Since this is specifically allotment legislation this is a real opportunity for members of the allotment community to have input into something that concerns them directly.  Responses will be accepted from individuals and from organisations.  Concerned allotment gardeners can therefore respond for themselves, but also can get their allotment associations to put in a response.

Government information on the consultation can be found on the web at Here you will find links to a downloadable document giving an explanation of the legislative framework and also links to the consultation response forms. Remember that you do not have to stick to the forms: you can always write and send in additional information if the questions on the forms do not allow you to express your own opinions.

SAGS has prepared a discussion document that looks at some of the issues and poses some of the questions that we feel should be considered. You could use this document to help persuade your association that the consultation is important. It can be downloaded by clicking here.  SAGS members have also prepared a draft set of answers to the consultion which might help your group to formulate their own answers.