Committee bios

Kate Harrison, 2021 Seedy Sunday Chair:  This is my third year as Chair of the Seedy Sunday organising committee, and I’m wondering how I got so lucky with such a brilliant group of committee members to work with. I’ve been living in Brighton for nearly twenty years – a visit to one of the early Seedy Sundays in the Old Market convinced me what a brilliant place Brighton is to live! I’ve been gardening on the Weald allotments for over 15 years, and I love the community and being in nature as much as the fresh fruit and veg I get to grow and share. I like experimenting with unusual varieties and gardening approaches – a high point this Summer was growing succotash beans brought to Seedy Sunday 2020 by someone from Vermont, and a low point was having my lovely brassicas covered in whitefly! I like to see Seedy Sunday as a small but powerful act of resistance and solidarity.

Ros Loftin, 2021 Ex/Returning Seed Exchange Coordinator: I have been involved in volunteering for Seedy Sunday for about a decade, using my knowledge of horticulture at the Seed Table, and saving seeds, specifically tomato, for the annual February event. Over the years, I have been interviewed on Gardeners’ Question Time, as well as some French local radio stations and a few magazines. Having trained as a linguist, and later as a designer-maker (stained glass), my professional life has gyrated around education, including teaching horticulture. I have been working my allotments for 26 years, and growing a massive variety of vegetables and flowers . My recent retirement allows me, amongst other things, to focus on re-designing my allotment for total sustainable biodiversity, learning about beekeeping, and helping Seedy Sunday.

Saskia Wesnigk, 2021 Committee Member: I have been a volunteer at Seedy Sunday for years and joined the committee in 2018 because I care deeply about sustainability, gardening and cooking. My passions are writing plays and directing shows of all kinds. For Seedy Sunday 2020 I was the Seed Swap Table Coordinator and am happy to hand the job back to the wonderful Ros; in the years before I helped with coordinating the speakers. (I work at Gladrags Costumes where you can hire outfits to dress up like a princess or Anne Boleyn on a daily basis, great in these times of wanting to think about something else for a while.) I used to help run community allotments and finally got my own plot in January, just in time for a lockdown in the soil, helped by my lovely dog. I have a polytunnel filled with physalis and love making jams and chutneys. Photo by Robert Piwko

Alex Embleton, Designer:  I joined the committee in 2019, taking over on the Design side of things, in previous years I have helped out as a volunteer on the ticket desk.  I’m probably the least green fingered among the committee, I have a small garden where I like to try and grow flowers but it’s currently a little bit wild. I tell myself the reason is down to it being more welcoming for local wildlife rather than my pure laziness!  I’m definitely a fair weather gardener and I occasionally help out on my mum and sisters allotment up in Craven Vale, I mainly help out in the warmer months so I can eat all the ripe berries. I may not have much success with growing plants but you can find me spending most of my time drawing them.

 Fenella Burns, Publicity and Stalls:  I’m passionate about preserving our natural resources and looking at ways to live life sustainably. I love to grow food in our garden, although I seem to have green fingers for beans and not much else! Am on a steep learning curve and have valued joining BHOGG this year which is a great introduction for keen novices like me!  I started volunteering at Seedy Sunday to learn more about what grows well locally and I enjoy helping manage events. This is the very best event bringing together a community of passionate people from all areas of local horticulture and permaculture. 

James Bradley, Treasurer: I have been on the committee since 2018, having helped out as a volunteer for a few years before. I have an allotment in the wilds of West Sussex. I love growing the odd, slightly more unusual vegetable from Cucamelon to Cape Gooseberry to Shark fin melon. I once received free cucamelon plants from James Wong after sharing with listeners of Gardeners Question time my complete failure to get cucamelons to fruit! My favourite vegetable to grow is purple dwarf french beans – they are so versatile and the colour adds a splash of colour to any dish. They also go green when you cook them for a real surprise! 

Esther Man, 2020 Volunteer Coordinator:  I volunteered to help at Seedy Sunday last year, and am helping to organise the volunteers for this year.  What I most enjoy about the event is the chance to meet like-minded people who just want to grow things.   My own back yard (it’s not a garden) is a mess, but it’s a happy mess!  The thing that I have learnt in the last few years is that if seeds or plants fail to grow well, it’s ok.  I just come back and swap for some other seeds that may do well or for something that the slugs will find less delicious. The most exciting plant in my collection is a Camellia sinensis (tea) and the dream is to have my own tea plantation with monkeys trained to pick the tea. 

Viv Caisey, 2020 Troubleshooter:  I have been involved with Seedy Sunday for many years, first just as a volunteer on the day, then as a committee member and past Chair. For Seedy Sunday 2021 I am going to have a year off and spend time enjoying the stalls at Seedy Sunday and listening to the talks.  I am a keen gardener, I have an allotment on the Weald site and am co-ordinator on the Brighton and Hove Organic Gardeners community allotment. I love to grow seeds from the seed swap even if they don’t always turn out to be what they say on the packet!
Beth Chaplin, Troubleshooter: I love experimenting with small space gardening in my back yard – using vertical space, I grow runner beans up the water pipes and various sweet-pea types around my railings. I re-cycle containers like wooden wine boxes to grow rocket and lettuce in, and my herbs are grown in an old iron fireplace grate. During the Summer I make high woven willow plant supports to grow tomatoes and broad beans up.  I love to draw and paint what I grow. And there is nothing better than eating fresh vegetables that you have grown yourself. I have been on the Seedy Sunday Committee for several years, and the passion and community leading up to and at the event always nurtures my soul.
Alison Everett, 2020 Speaker Programme:  Growing my own vegetables and community involvement is second nature. I was introduced to the delights of Seedy Sunday by long-time friend Paul Barney of Edulis, and soon realised the best way to be part of the movement was to volunteer, so you may have met me at the Seed Swap table for the last four or five years or on twitter as @seasidehopper spreading the reach of what Seedy Sunday’s fabulous contributors have to offer. Bellringing is one of my hobbies too, a unique heritage skill that I promote.  I will be promoting the Seedy Sunday presenters’ work and collaborations, and I look forward to introducing them to you all.