• Holly Silvester
    Holly Silvester
    The Gaia Foundation Seed Sovereignty programme

    Holly is a commercial organic vegetable and seed grower based at Trill Farm Garden in Devon. Alongside growing food, she also works for The Gaia Foundation Seed Sovereignty programme, educating & empowering commercial and community growers to produce and save local, open pollinated seed.

    Before embarking on her journey into agroecological farming, Holly trained in formal horticulture, and has a background in community growing, working for grassroots organisations helping people from local communities grow food and create gardens in urban spaces.
    She is an aspiring seed grower and self-confessed soil biology nerd, particularly interested in bringing genetic diversity back to our food system through growing modern landraces.

  • Kevin Dudley
    Kevin Dudley
    Co-manager Cloughjordan Community Farm

    Kevin Dudley moved to County Clare in the early ‘90s with a hunger for Permaculture and worked at Irish Seed Savers Association for over a decade as Orchard Curator before spending a year in New Zealand working on farms saving seed.
    Next, he went to C.A.S.F.S (Centre for Agroecology & Sustainable Food Systems) in California. When he returned to Ireland he co-managed Cloughjordan Community Farm in North Tipperary, with an interest in on-farm seed saving, selection and breeding heterozygous populations of onions.
    Having left the farm, he now advises the Cloughjordan Community Seed Bank encourages the local community to engage with the cycle of growing their own food.

  • Robin Morgan
    Robin Morgan
    PhD at the WSU Breadlab

    Robin Morgan grew up in Italy surrounded by people passionate about food. Cooking has been his gateway to a journey spanning from working at a one-Michelin star restaurant in Milan to earning a Masters in Organic Agriculture from the University of Pisa. Robin moved to Washington state to pursue a PhD at the WSU Breadlab that involves developing a perennial grain crop, and wheat varieties with novel seed colors. He asks the question can plant breeders make positive change in our food systems?

  • Sinéad Fortune
    Sinéad Fortune
    Manager, Seed Sovereignty Programme, The Gaia Foundation

    Manager, Seed Sovereignty Programme, The Gaia Foundation


The Gaia Foundation - Seed Sovereignty Programme
The Gaia Foundation – Seed Sovereignty Programme

We support Small-scale Commercial Growers, Community Groups and Home Gardeners & Allotmenteers with useful networks, resources and information to help protect and restore seed diversity across the UK & Ireland.

Other Organizers

WSU Breadlab
WSU Breadlab


Thomas Davis Theatre, Arts Building, Trinity College
Thomas Davis Theatre, Arts Building, Trinity College

Oct 27 2023
11:40 am – 1:30 pm

Diverse approaches to diversity: from market-driven to needs-based and farmer-led breeding

Main objective of the workshop

Aim of this is workshop is to first investigate issues with breeding led by market demand, then explore different approaches to needs-based and farmer-led plant breeding, and the resilience this can bring. We’ll cover drivers such as human nutrition and crop resilience addressed by several breeding methods including working with diverse populations.

Short description of the workshop 

Join us to explore the issues with market-led breeding which focus on yield, disease resistance and end-use quality and how we can integrate new or revived methods of breeding to address unmet needs of nutrition and crop resilience. Through discussions of BreadLab’s population wheat research and stories of participatory and experimental plant breeding from the seed network in the Uk and Ireland, we will explore how working with diverse populations we are developing varieties suitable for farmers well into the future. Then we will open the floor to hear other examples from the LLD network and for others to share their experiments and experiences.