Committee bios 2023

Fenella Burns, Chair

I’m delighted with the team to have been able to plan and bring to fruition a full event after a couple of years of having to do things differently. Seedy Sunday is back for the 21st year of swapping seeds!

I’m fortunate to be part of a really strong growing community here in Brighton and Hove.  Every member of this committee is vocal about growing organically and sharing both their knowledge and their produce. 

I’m a co-worker on an allotment that has been organic for as long as Seedy Sunday has been going. It’s a privilege to maintain that organic growing space.

I’m part of Growing Hollingdean an eco action group improving our ward by planting and maintaining fruit and nut trees, planning wildflower beds and installing community composting.

Kate Harrison, Speaker Programme  

Having been chair of the organising committee for four years, I’m delighted to be managing the speakers this year.

I’ve been living in Brighton for over twenty years – a visit to one of the early Seedy Sundays convinced me what a brilliant place Brighton is to live! I’ve been gardening on the Weald allotments for over 16 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 year was growing Yacon for the first time, a low point was battling with the effects of the drought!

I see Seedy Sunday as a small but powerful act of resistance against the giant agrochemical industry and solidarity in our local gardening community.

Ros Loftin, 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, Seed Exchange Coordinator

I have been a volunteer at Seedy Sunday for years and joined the committee in 2018 because I care deeply about sustainability, growing food, and cooking with seasonal, local produce.

I enjoy working with Ros on choosing the seeds we order to add to the swapping table, specialising in open pollinated varieties. I have also in past years helped with coordinating the speakers.

I write plays and direct shows: in February 2021 I wrote a play called ‘Love in the Time of Lockdown’ which was performed at the Brighton and Edinburgh Fringe. In 2022 with my group SwanWing Productions we took my new play ‘The Women of Battle’ to the Edfringe again and are planning to perform it on tour. Photo by Robert Piwko

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!

Ruth Chalker, Volunteer Coordinator

I’m a professional horticulturist and gardener working in the Brighton area.

Alongside dealing with my gardening clients and projects I run a living classroom at a local school where I teach children gardening and seed saving. In conjunction with this I have a plot at Stamner Organics where I want to produce seed and provide our local community with a place to work and share knowledge together.

I love gardening and the interaction with people and have joined the Seedy Sunday committee to learn more about seed production and to mix with like minded souls.

I’ve attended many seedy Sunday events and always wanted to get involved. This year I’m coordinating the volunteers.

Beth Chaplin, Communications

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.

Amy Hope, Graphics and Communications

Amy Hope Illustration