Building a seed home

TEST ACTION

AIM

Building on from the preparatory action, training exchanges and the Seed Home Master Mind session around design, construction and operational processes for Community Seed Homes in Poland our aim will be now to construct and design a physical community Seed Home for Kaczawski region, at Ptasia Dolina community farm, in Lower Silesia.

Through this test action we want to address several aims:

1. Piloting: an A-Z participatory process with local inhabitants for creating Kaczawski Community Seed Home and Seed-Savers’ network and co-managing this type of Commons’ space resource that can serve as an example locally and nationally. All participants of Agro-Perma-Lab project can join (trainees, interviewees, researchers) the hands-on construction and opening celebration, to help and learn. In addition, Farm owners at Ptasia Dolina will identify and invite local seed-savers.

Some farm-based Seed Homes exist already in Poland, and the project aims to start mapping those; however, not many have a bottom-up community governance principle in them, and they are either individually owned or institutionally managed. We aim at supporting the creation of the ‘Commons’ space and resource.

We hope, the Kaczawski Community Seed Home Test Action will bring together a network of interested seed-savers and growers, but also other supporters, the help of local CSO and authorities, thus sparking the emergence of farm-based ‘micro-seed-homes’ too (one idea is to provide easthetic hand-made wooden seed boxes with tiny seed jars from that would prompt individual seed collections).

As the project unfolds and becomes visible, Ptasia Dolina farm owners declared intention to investigate collaboration and funding opportunities for educational work during local events and winter and spring seed swaps for the long-term and to work with the group of core-custodians. 

2. Demonstrating: practically implementing, documenting and learning from construction process and making it available to others in the form of a short step-by-step design and construction design filmand Community Seed Homes’Toolkitin Polish

3. Networking and inspiring: completing the case studies publication (online and PDF) to promote the project and creating a simple online form and list for ‘subscriptions’ of Seed-Savers from the region and further afield, based on Auto-Diagnosis Seed Home Questionnairefrom Preparatory Action

4. Scaling potential: synthesising APLab Seed training and design for other organisations and community groups based on the whole 3-stages project model: Prep.Action, Training and Test Action. This way we can actually scale up to other regions and multiply the outcomes.

5. Follow-up: connecting all who participated in the project in months following the training and test action (participants, voluntary researchers, interviewees and trainers) 

METHODS

In general the Test Action will have the largest synthesising input on APLab part and the largest involvement on the part of Ptasia Dolina farm and Kaczawski region and community.

Design:

The plan of the physical design and construction of Seed Home will emerge as a synthesis of:
– submitted Case Studies’ (formal and voluntary researchers in the project) input from the preparatory phase;

– Input from external trainers presenting on international CSB projects and from guides and toolkits on Community Seed Homes in English

– from participants’ input during 2nd and 3rd training day in particular

– from Ptasia Dolina farm owners own research and conversations with most engaged community members

– design will also include a ‘scenario’ of different processes – from technical to community meetings, events and education – this will be done as part of the training. 

Construction:

– farm owners will be responsible for providing half of necessary materials, overseeing the handy-man / carpenter in preparation of materials and supporting him to integrate with the group and ‘lead’ the construction on the day of the training (in fact they employ few local craftsmen already)

– the construction, apart from shelves, doors, walls of the room, will involve several traditional and hand-made elements engraving on wood labeling elements; creating an information board, developing the catalogue system. All these elements will be created as a ‘template’ during the training and then the specific aesthetic and material choices will be made by farm owners and community in their own time (between training and Test Action)

– local ceramics artisan will be asked to create storage containers. Not all seeds may be stored in such containers, but this will be dependent upon design. Some part of the group may part-take in supporting the making of those ceramics containers to lower their cost, and some may be additionally donated by the artisan as part of his contribution and self-promotion.

Visual Toolkit:

– during the construction a film will be made to provide a summary step-by-step guide on different elements of Seed Home construction

– the film will be integrated with visual material from Preparatory Action – from visits in other Seed Homes on farms

– films will be available open-source online

PDF Community Seed Homes Toolkit for design, construction and community management:

– we will translate largely sections of available documents in English and update them with specifications from Poland

– appropriate case studies will be provided

– the PDF will be available free of charge but we will encourage donations for APLab training development

Community Seed Homes’ network in Lower Silesia and in the whole of Poland

– depending on the number of submitted Seed Homes’ auto-diagnosed case studies we will create an appropriate inventory (map or a list) of Seed Homes with short-stories about the places and people

– Auto-diagnosis questionnaire, updated and adapted from the preparatory phase, will be made available with instruction how to use it will be added. People will be able to submit examples of their Seed Homes thus growing the networking

– through email group and an online meeting we will engage everyone who took part in the project, checking-in, find out about progress and challenges and get feedback.

DOCUMENTATION AND REPORTING RESULTS

As mentioned above, there are several outcomes that we expect that will document our work:

Design with costs-calculation and record of materials for the Kaczawski Seed Home

Video Toolkit on construction

CSB Design, community management and construction Toolkit with case studies

Questionnaire for auto-diagnosis and Seed Homes’ submissions online

Map of Seed Homes in Lower-Silesia and in Poland with case studies’ input on our website.

Photos from the construction workshop and of the complete project

Feedback session some time after the project’s completion online with all different participants