The Seeds of Hope Scotland project was born out of the first covid-19 lockdown, in April 2020. At that stage, we donated 10,000 packets of wildflower seeds to isolated folk in Scotland.
By the time the project came to an end in 2022, we'd been able to give over 14,000 packets of seeds to 181 good causes across the country. Here's how it happened.
I'm Serena - I founded Seeds of Hope Scotland as a small, temporary not-for-profit initiative at the beginning of the 2020 Covid-19 pandemic.
I come from a background of working in conservation charities, and so I've seen what a difference nature and gardening can make to people's mental health.
It has also made me very aware of the huge environmental challenges we face in Scotland and beyond, from habitat loss and decreasing biodiversity to the threats faced by bees and other pollinators.
However, the immediate catalyst for the project was much more personal.
A close relative of mine was told to shield right at the beginning of the pandemic. He lives alone, and I was too far away to visit.
To cheer him up, I sent him some wildflower and vegetable seeds to sow in his garden. And so it began!
I quickly realised that other people might appreciate some 'seeds of hope' too.
So I set myself a target of getting 10,000 packets of wildflower seeds - each attached to a cheerful postcard - to vulnerable and isolated folk in Scotland by the end of May 2020.
I wanted to create a patchwork of colour, beauty and wildlife that would begin to bloom during the summer, when everything else might still seem rather dark.
Unlike many other plants, wildflowers need minimal care and usually thrive in poor soils. They pop up against all the odds, and help bees, butterflies and other creatures thrive, too. They're beautiful, they're valuable, and they're survivors.
So many wonderful individuals got involved with the project. Seed companies donated wildflower seed mix, friends helped pack the seeds, a crowdfunder we ran raised over £800, and voluntary groups all over Scotland offered to distribute our ‘seeds of hope’ within their communities.
By the end of May 2020, we’d given away almost 10,100 packets of wildflower seeds, to over 80 groups. These included:
A Scottish charity working with people in the early stages of recovery from drug and alcohol addiction
Several charities supporting people with mental and physical disabilities
A care home looking after residents with complex needs
Many nurseries, primary and secondary schools running educational growing projects for their pupils
Several outreach groups providing food and care parcels to people in deprived urban areas
Various small community gardening groups, run by volunteers and dedicated to improving the green spaces in their local areas
WHAT WE ACHIEVED
The Seeds of Hope Scotland project ran for another two years, continuing to give wildflower and vegetable seeds to good causes across Scotland.
During this time we also set up a Seed Amnesty, matching unwanted vegetable, cultivated flower and herb seeds with good causes that would like them. Generous folk from all over Britain donated hundreds of packets of spare seeds, and we shared them with groups on our waiting list.
By the time the Seeds of Hope Scotland project came to an end in 2022, we'd been able to give over 14,000 packets of seeds to 181 good causes across Scotland. You can view the full list of recipient groups here.