Seed money needed to protect native plants of Northern Ireland and Republic of Ireland

A conservation charity are trying to raise the £200,000 necessary to reseed Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland should the native plants on the island be wiped out.
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The deadline is the end of August to raise the funds that are needed to build a new home to preserve the seedbank for hundreds of native flowers and plants in NI and ROI.

The seeds are currently housed in the Co Down townland of Kilclief within a set of temporary structures that are reaching the end of their lifespan.

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Plant conservation charity, True Harvest Seeds, say the new structure will be purpose built to preserve the seed of the island of Ireland’s native flora in the event of degradation or extinction due to factors such as dehabitation or climate change.

Debbie Gillies, CEO of True Harvest Seeds, alongside marketing director Mike ThompsonDebbie Gillies, CEO of True Harvest Seeds, alongside marketing director Mike Thompson
Debbie Gillies, CEO of True Harvest Seeds, alongside marketing director Mike Thompson

The organisation also wishes to further develop its native botanical gardens, to protect and showcase endangered and beautiful flora.

Debbie Gillies, CEO at True Harvest Seeds, said: “True Harvest Seeds is essentially a gene bank for our indigenous wild plants. We harness the science of seed conservation to safeguard our native species for future generations.

“We preserve seeds collected from populations of wild plants of native origin in our seed bank and it is of the utmost importance that we are able to secure a permanent, purpose-built structure, to allow us to continue our work safely and effectively for the long term.

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“The seed centre will be open to the public and the seeds in the seed bank can be withdrawn for restoration or research upon application. As a charity, True Harvest Seeds and its seed bank are owned by the people of NI and ROI for use now and long into the future, as seed collections can last for thousands of years in deep storage.

“I would encourage donations from people across Northern Ireland to help us raise the £200,000 that is urgently needed in order to secure the site by August 31.”

Debbie works alongside one other member of staff at True Harvest Seeds, and has 17 dedicated volunteers who help with all aspects, from governance, to collecting, to growing and storing the seed.

The organisation was set up as a limited company in December 2013 and in April 2014 it was awarded charitable status.

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Michael Thompson, who is trustee and marketing director at True Harvest Seeds, commented: “Conserving endangered plant species is vital to the preservation of our ecosystems. Many plant species are currently facing extinction, both locally and globally, and it is vital for us to help protect them before it is too late.

“One of the ways that we aim to achieve this at True Harvest Seeds is by seed banking and our members are working tirelessly to raise money to build the necessary infrastructure to continue our efforts.

“We need to raise the money to secure a permanent building for our seed bank and I would call on people across Northern Ireland to help us protect our indigenous plants from genetic degradation, hybridisation or extinction by donating.”

To donate to True Harvest Seeds, visit https://trueharvestseeds.org/donate/