Since I discovered my first heirloom pepper in Donetsk in the late eighties I have been on a quest to seek out unusual, rare, endangered and above all, delicious vegetables that I could grow at home. Saving seeds of these varieties is at the heart of what I do: first and foremost for the Heritage Seed Library, to share with other growers, to return to the cultures that have lost or are losing them and to encourage the cultivation of local varieties in the UK that can be widely enjoyed by everyone who wants to reconnect with their own food culture and eat local. I am fortunate to have travelled widely for work and discovery. The first place I want to go when I am in a new country or city is the local morning market. There I hope to find growers selling produce grown from seeds that have been in their family, often for generations. Many of my most exciting discoveries have been in Myanmar, Laos, Rajasthan and Syria
I spend a lot of time meeting with farmers and fellow seed collectors from Australia to Catalonia and all places in between. They are always more than happy to share some of their seeds and when I am able to visit them again I like to return seeds too.