Exeter 2023 Community Grants: Exeter Seed Bank
Exeter 2023 Community Grants: Exeter Seed Bank

Exeter Seed Bank was part of the British Science Festival’s 2023 community programme in Exeter. Working with the Exeter Science Centre directors, we widened the activities that were undertaken as part of our Exeter Tomato Festival. This was a project that had started in Spring 2023 whereby we gave away over 60 packets of different tomato varieties and 300 seedlings to anyone interested in growing tomatoes for the festival. Growers included both community groups and individuals. 

Activities funded by the British Science Festival grant included visual materials and a demonstration showing how to save tomato seed; a blind taste activity which enabled participants to understand how sight influenced our perception of taste; and an understanding of how a tasting wheel works in relation to describing the taste of tomatoes. We also had a tomato id game for our younger participants. 

We were pleased to have had 25 varieties of tomatoes displayed at the event. Some varieties had already peaked in production so were not available for display during the September event. We estimate we had 100 people over the course of the event which also featured face painting, music and a delicious tomato- based soup and bread menu from our venue, the Daily Bowl café. 

The tomatoes displayed were then saved for seed, a process which took over a week and included fermentation and drying time. 

These seeds will now be available to local growers in Spring 2024. 

As part of the blog, we attach the tomato seed saving poster which was also featured for a month in the Walkway Gallery at Exeter Phoenix following the event. 

We also include a link to a youtube video made independently by a Hong Kong resident visiting the area: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Htco79w2llM&t=150s 

This event was enabled by the British Science Festival Community Grants, facilitated by Exeter Science Centre.