By Peta Doherty and Tegan Osborne –, 8 June 2020 | Source

When COVID-19 panic-buying caused a national run on commercial seedlings, a movement of backyard “seed savers” sprang into action to help — and some are now looking to establish greater stocks, in case they are needed again.

Seed savers networks exist throughout Australia and the world — and are often comprised of urban farmers, and balcony and backyard growers.

Their mission is to create a “living bank” of seeds, genetically wired to thrive in particular conditions, and to reduce the need to buy seeds at all, by preserving open-pollinated and heritage varieties that will produce identical plants year-on-year.

In contrast, commercial seedlings are typically not bred to reproduce.

When panic-buying hit the nursery sector, the Canberra Seed Savers group stepped in to fill the gap in the seed market, sharing seeds locally with those looking to become more self-sufficient.

But they soon realised they could also use their library of local seeds to help people in need.