Letter from America delivers generous donation for Garden Organic

Howard Lake | 13 November 2007 | News

Garden Organic, the UK’s leading organic growing charity, has received a substantial donation from the Lillian Goldman Charitable Trust, an American philanthropic organisation. The monies received will be used to progress the crucial work the charity’s Heritage Seed Library (HSL) does as well as improving the HSL facilities at Garden Organic’s headquarters in Warwickshire.
Started over 30 years ago, Garden Organic’s Heritage Seed Library aims to conserve and make available rare and endangered vegetable varieties that are disappearing as a result of economic and regulatory pressures. Gardeners across the UK donate seed varieties to the library for evaluating before making them available to members. This could not happen without the help of a small army of volunteer ‘seed guardians,’ who help to produce the large quantities of seed needed in their own gardens, schools or allotments to keep these rare gems alive. By doing so, they help the library save the world’s diminishing genetic pool of food crops.
Sandra Slack, head of Garden Organic’s Heritage Seed Library said; “This generous donation is very welcome and timely. Until now we have focussed our efforts on building our collection, raising awareness of the issues and establishing an efficient distribution network. With new varieties to protect every month we needed more resources to help monitor what we have in our collection and increase our understanding of the seeds we hold.
“This dilemma came to the attention of Amy Goldman, a long time supporter of Garden Organic and world-renowned author of vegetable growing books. A trustee of the Lillian Goldman Charitable Trust, she arranged for the organisation to make a sizable donation to support our work. This funding will be invaluable, allowing more time to be spent on the collection. We can now look at full characterisation of the seeds in our library – a time-consuming process of observation and record taking – as well as investigating the genetic make-up of each variety.
“The donation will also be used to improve irrigation in our seed garden through the purchase of a new water tank, as well as making repairs to polytunnels and fences that have been damaged in recent bad weather. We are very grateful to the Lillian Goldman Charitable Trust for this generous donation,” she concluded.
Each year over 40,000 packets of seeds are distributed by Garden Organic’s Heritage Seed Library to ensure that endangered varieties of vegetables remain in cultivation and evolve. The charity has also been able to join with Birmingham University to offer a PhD involving the full characterisation of its collection of heritage vegetables thanks to the donation.
This will give the work of the seed library greater prominence, as the cataloguing and research results will be published in a form widely accepted by academia and industry.
“We are delighted to receive such a generous donation from the Lillian Goldman Charitable Trust,” said Myles Bremner, chief executive of Garden Organic. “Donations are crucial to the progression of the organisation and the fact that we are receiving support from such a renowned philanthropic organisation shows the high regard our organisation is held in around the world.”
For more information contact James Ashe or Richard Postins at Prova PR on 01926 776900 or jamesa@provapr.co.uk
Notes to editors
Garden Organic
Garden Organic is the UK’s leading organic growing charity dedicated to researching and promoting organic gardening, farming and food. The charity, which boasts a membership of more than 40,000, is based at Garden Organic Ryton, Warwickshire. For more information, please go to
Marie-Ange Nouroumby
PRide Awards gold winner 2007
Tel: +44 (0) 1926 776900
Fax: +44 (0) 1926 402331

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