Midlands Food Hero: Seed Saving Queen – Éidín Griffin

local food hero twk eidin plants herbs  web may

Did you know that Heirloom seeds are older varieties which have adapted to their particular conditions and stayed true to type? Éidín Griffin has been saving seeds, spreading creative ideas and inspiring gardeners for many years and is really passionate about growing good food. Ancestral seed saving was a necessity on farms in ‘the old days’ and only recently have these seeds become available to the public. Some have been grown on the same farm for over 150 years, developing resistance to specific insects and coping well with weather conditions.

Before relocating to KZN, Éidín built her own off grid house in the Free State, using materials from the site – gum poles, earth and stone, generated her own energy and fed herself and many friends. “Actually being far away from a town, without transport certainly focusses one’s attention on being truly self-sufficient!” she laughs. “My family thought I was crazy, and occasionally I thought so too.”

In the past few years, she has created flourishing food gardens in difficult conditions from scratch – in township schools and rural farms – all with style and joy. “Some of our gardens have 24 varieties of herbs now and many schools are starting to save their own seeds,” she says proudly. “Growing food is all about taking care of your soil – a good balance of micro-organisms in the soil keeps it alive. It is important to feed it with well-made compost (which is such a lot of fun to make!) and keep everything mulched.” Éidín is definitely happiest surrounded by kids, up to her armpits in horse manure or feasting on freshly harvested food.

“Our food, health and happiness is being manipulated by multi-nationals. I would like to encourage fun loving and life orientated people to grow food, save seed and secure their own food supply. ”How can you resist? To inspire others to follow this path, she recently produced a gorgeously illustrated guide entitled ‘How to become a Seed Superhero – save seeds, yourself and possibly the planet’ filled with useful tips on how to start on your own collection of treasures. She sells this along with locally grown seed at the Dargle Local Market on the first Sunday of every month. Don’t miss a street performance by Yizwa Drama Group on 25 May 10am at Howick Falls about the effects seed company Monsanto is having on our food.

Join the Midlands Seed Savers on facebook or at www.darglelocalliving.wordpress.com