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Diane Holness

Diane Holness has been a key organiser of Bristol SeedSwap since 2016. She got into gardening in her 30s and is now coming into her 21st season as an allotmenteer at her well loved plot near Ashton Court.


Diane has worked for many years as a gardener and garden designer under the name Urban Eden Designs and has since returned to working as a puppet maker at Aardman Animation.

Through her work on the SeedSwap, Diane has set up a year round programme of gardening workshops at festivals and community venues, focused on encouraging people to practice seed saving as a natural part of gardening.

Diane says “We have to find a way of pushing back against the extreme commercialisation of the seed and food growing system and create a local food culture which is robust. Seeds and growing are something that is very central to my life...Seed Swap is very much a fun, sociable event with many lovely people on the organising team and in the wider community network.

The Seed Swap kicks off the growing year – if you’re a grower in Bristol you have to be at Bristol Seed Swap.”

In her talk Diane's will look at the easiest seeds to save for beginners and how to process and store seeds. She'll point out factors to investigate before saving seeds from trickier vegetables and flowers along with some real world solutions to make it work for you.

Book your ticket here :

Tickets £5 / £2 / or by donation


Dan Saladino

Dan is a food journalist, author, and broadcaster, he makes programmes about food for BBC Radio 4 and BBC World Service. His work has been recognised by the Guild of Food Writers Awards, the Fortnum and Mason Food and Drink Awards, and in America by the James Beard Foundation. Eating to Extinction was awarded the 2019 Jane Grigson Trust Award. Dan lives in Cheltenham but his roots are Sicilian.

In conversation with Alys Fowler and Barny Haughton  will explore themes from Dan's astonishing new book, ‘Eating to Extinction’, a captivating and wide ranging exploration of some of the thousands of foods around the world that are at risk of being lost forever.


Dan's book ‘Eating to Extinction tells stories of traditional foods from across the globe – from a tiny crimson pear in the west of England to great chunks of fermented sheep meat in the Faroe Islands to an exploding corn in Mexico that might just hold the key to the future of food. Dan meets the pioneering farmers, scientists, cooks, food producers and indigenous communities who are preserving food traditions and fighting for change.

Dan argues that the huge loss of global crop diversity plus dependence on a handful of livestock breeds will leave us, if allowed to continue at full speed, ecologically and culturally destitute and vulnerable to pests, diseases and climate extremes.

This book is particularly significant for seed swappers since over the last 50 years, much of the world’s seed has come into the control of just four corporations and the vast majority of our adaptable, resilient strains of locally saved seed have been lost or are highly endangered. Commercially produced seed increasingly favours traits such as uniformity, ease of mechanised harvesting, or suitability for efficient packing and transport. Characteristics such as flavour, and the wide genetic base which enables crops to adapt to a variety of soil conditions are often not prioritised.


​Book your ticket here:

Tickets £5 / £2 / or by donation

Dan will be signing copies of his book ‘Eating to Extinction on the day.  


Alys Fowler

Alys Fowler is a gardener, writer and presenter. She has written seven books on the themes of gardening, food growing, and nature, and she writes a weekly column on gardening for the Guardian Weekend magazine. She has contributed to Gardens Illustrated, The Observer Food Monthly, The National Geographic and Country Living.

Alys has presented on BBC’s Gardeners’ World, The Great British Garden Revival, Our Food, and her own six-part series The Edible Garden.

Alys is fascinated by urban nature and how we make space for it.


Polyculture, a key theme of Alys' new book 'Eat What you Grow', is the art of growing a variety of different plants together, resulting in an iintricate garden design that celebrates biodiversity as well as deliciousness.

Book your ticket here:

Tickets £5 / £2 / or by donation

Alys will be signing copies of her book ‘Eat what you grow' on the day and will also join the discussion with Dan Saladino and Barny Haughton on the urgent need to preserve food diversity.


Barny Haughton

Barny Haughton, is a chef, teacher and food educator and formerly restaurateur of 3 award-winning restaurants in Bristol. 

Barny has been teaching cooking and food education since 1992 and founded Square Food Foundation, a community cookery school and registered charity. Based at The Park - a thriving community centre in the heart of Knowle West, Bristol, Square Food Foundation offers a busy programme of cookery classes and courses to adults and children from all walks of life, aiming to build understanding of how to cook good food and of the role that food plays in every aspect of life.

Square Food Foundation also runs masterclasses and team-building workshops and does private and public catering events. Every penny of profit from these paid-for events and classes funds Square Food’s charitable work with schools and community groups. Square Food’s students include young people not in employment or training, older adults at risk of becoming isolated, care home cooks, children and families, people at risk of homelessness and more.

Barny also teaches FoodEducation studies at The University of Gastronomic Sciences in Pollenzo, Italy and at the Tasca Lanza Cookery School in Sicily.

Barny believes that food education should be central to health and education policy-making both at local and national government level and is campaigning for food education to sit alongside Maths and English on the national curriculum.

Barny says “I think the very idea that the amazing diversity of different foods which humanity has bred across the globe and over the centuries might be lost for ever is profoundly depressing. Preserving our food diversity is essential for our food culture, for our health, for food equity and for food systems resilience. But perhaps as important, biodiversity in food, as in nature, brings nourishment and comfort to the human spirit.”

Barny Haughton has won a number of awards including the Independent Spirit Award at the 2011 Glenfiddich Awards, The Lifetime Achievement Award at Bristol Good Food Awards 2014; Food Hero Award at the 2016 BBC Food & Farming Awards. Square Food Foundation was named Best Cookery School at the 2018 and 2019 Crumbs Awards.

Barny was awarded an MBE in the Queen’s honours list in 2021 for services to food education in the community.

Tickets for Barny’s talk with Alys Fowler and Dan Saladino are £5 / £2 or by donation.

Book your ticket here:

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