Seed Circus: all the details

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seed circus workshops

Right! The workshops are up: seed saving, city foraging, tortilla making – yep, it’s all happening at our Seed Circus this Sunday at 107 Redfern St…

And then, of course, there’s the ongoing swapmeet – a day of fearless barter of absolutely everything. What will you arrive with? What will you leave with? These are big questions. We’ve got a car full of dried apples and preserved everything, ready to go. So, what are you bringing?

seed circus 500

We don’t have enough swapmeets these days. You should come along just to practice your swapping skills, if nothing else. It’s not scary at all, and you don’t even have to talk to anyone, if you don’t want to.

Don’t worry, this is not an iniquitous den of people pressing pickles apon each other with long and tortured stories of their origin. The idea is that there are long tables of awesome things. You put yours down. You pick something else up. If you feel the worth is equal, your swap is complete. Simple as that.

Ok so there will probably be some people that want to talk to each other. Lots, even. And that’s fine too. Tell us the stories of your awesome thing! The secret recipe behind your best-ever pickled beetroot. The weird and wonderful traits of the silverbeet that you’ve saved seeds from… if you’ve got a story, bring it on.

What are we bringing to swap? Milkwood Farm dried apples (grown at the end of our street and dried with love at Milkwood Farm), fresh apples and a selection of passata, pickled carrots, nashi pears in honey with star anise and pickled green tomatoes.

Oh and we’re also making up little bags of goodness for everyone containing winter green manure seeds, broad beans and who knows what else, to get you growing.

Once you’re all swapped out, join us for one of the day’s workshops, which will be casual spectaculars…


11am – Seed Saving with Michael Hewins: zucchini, pumpkins and other cucurbits. Michael heads up the organic Market Garden program at Milkwood Farm, and he knows a thing or two about growing vegetables.

Cucurbits, while sometimes exhausting in their abundance, are a very important family of foodstuffs that you should learnt to seedsave, properly.

Weeds walk

12pm – City Weed Foraging with Diego Bonnetto (a short walk to Redfern Park). Have you been on a weed walk with Diego of Wild Stories? You should. He’s a wealth of knowledge with a unique spin on the wild nature that surrounds us.

Redfern Park is one block from the Seed Circus venue, and at 12pm Diego will take whoever is up for it on a 45 minute jaunt to explore for unusual edibles. Do you know your oxalis from your mallow? You will by the end of this…

seedball workshop

1pm – Seed Ball making with Floyd Constable – learn how to make seed bombs for urban guerrilla edibles. Or for acacia establishment on small farms. Or for increasing pollinator species along your nearest railway line.

We’ve been working with seed balls for some years now at Milkwood Farm as part of a low energy, low cost strategy to establish biomass and biodiversity in drought years.  They’ve been very useful for us, and they can be for you too. Read the backstory of our seed ball experiments here.


2pm – Seed Saving with Michael Hewins: beautiful beans! shucking, winnowing and saving for spring. yay beans. We’ve bringing a couple of boxes of blue lake and scarlet runner bean pods from the Milkwood market garden to share with you, so come and get shucking.

In this workshop Michael will also look at winnowing, which is a technique for separating small seeds from their husks. Things like lemon balm, wild rocket, mint and amaranth. If you have anything in seed in your garden, BRING SOME ALONG and we can help you winnow it…

soil blocking

3pm – Soil Blocking with Michael Hewins: learn to make soil blocks and boost your spring seedling production. We love soil blocks – they’re great for getting the jump on the season for certain types of seedlings, and allow for planting out with no transplant shock. And they’re fun to make, if you get your mix just right.

While soil blocks do necessarily require a soil blocker to make, once you have one, you’re set. They’re also a perfect piece of kit to share between friends, or buy collectively. Or better yet, to have in your community tool library. Which I’m sure you’re planning to set up sometime soon.


3pm – Corn Tortilla making with Helena Garcia Garza of Fuego de la Tierra. Tortillas rock the house. They are also made from corn, that special seed that has such a crucial place in many cultures and which is also at the center of the GMO debate.

Corn, at its best, is a fantastic food. And once you learn to craft the simple awesomeness that is fresh tortillas made from freshly ground corn, you will never go back. So come and learn to make them with the best Mexican chef in town.

So that’s what we have planned. Also, if you have any seeds (or seed heads, or things like tomatoes or whatever) that you want to save seed from but need advice on how to do so, bring them along and we’ll talk you through it. Any more bean pods or winnowable (assuming that’s a word) contributions to add to the mix are welcome.

And don’t forget to bring stuff to swap! It could be a book, a bike part or a bbq. It could be seedlings, sourdough or sushi. It could be your favourite recipe, written down.

It could be a super shoulder massage (actually anyone wants to swap one of those, please come see me directly). It could be secret directions to the best unlocked dumpster + which day of the week the warehouse de-stocks their perfectly fine produce. It could be a great pair of boots. It could be a promise of lunch, or a beer, or 1 hrs help with something.

Seed Circus kicks off at 11am, and we’ll all be there till 4pm… at 107 Redfern St, Redfern. FREE for everyone.

We hope you can come. If  you’re wanting to make a day of it, check out for all the amazing things happening across Sydney (and the rest of the planet) on this Sunday 5th May International Permaculture Day, which Seed Circus is a part of.

Right! That’s it. We have at the farm this morning a truck and a station wagon packed brim-full of seeds, winnowing gear, dried apples, preserves, soil block ingredients and all the rest. We’re ready to roll. Sydney, here we come….

Also feel free to rsvp and invite your friends to the Seed Circus facebook event… we actually have no idea how many of y’all are coming, and it would be fun to know, so we can ensure seeds and apples for all… thanks xx

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0 responses to “Seed Circus: all the details

  1. Was considering whether to make the drive to Sydney this weekend, but now I’m sold! Was wracking my brain to come up with something to bring to swap and I realize that I have wool! 2 balls of hand spun! Rock n roll!

  2. Such a great idea which I could come to the otherside of the world for this 🙂 I might steal the idea and do this here when autumn comes… And whoever did the flyers/artwork – its outstandingly beautiful.

  3. Sadness…thy name is narf77 :(. Once again I can see…but not touch. I think this time my palpable disappointment is going to spur me on to start something like this here in Tassie. “We don’t need no steenkin’ mainlander event…we will make our own!” ;). Have a great day guys and you just never know what might come out of the woodwork…there be dragons…

  4. Thank you so much Milkwood people, I had such a great day, learnt heaps and met some fantastic people. Thank you to whoever brought the coconut/pandus leaf spread, the dragonfruit cutting, the yacon tubers and the lemongrass. Thank you Milkwood for the scarlett runners, green beans, favas and green manure mix. 🙂

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