Seed Pantry’s new addition to the patch!

Seed Pantry is delighted to welcome a new member to the team this month. Mike Thurlow (on the left in the pic!), renowned organic kitchen gardener and horticulturalist is joining our green-fingered team to help provide advice, tips and recommendations on growing your own flavoursome food.

He has over 30 years’ experience, early on as head gardener at Dyffryn Gardens (Vale of Glamorgan) and as horticultural director at Aberglasney Gardens in Carmarthenshire. From 1998 to 2012 he was Head Gardener of the Organic Walled Kitchen Garden at Audley End House, Saffron Walden where he oversaw the restoration of the Victorian Walled Kitchen Garden, combining Victorian and Soil Association standards to produce organic fruit and vegetables all year round.

His passion for growing organic heritage varieties of fruit, vegetables, salads and herbs has meant appearances in television programmes including Gardeners World, Great British Food Revival and British to the Core, along with writing of several books and columns in the gardening press.

Mike will be on hand to work with Seed Pantry’s founder, Neil Whitehead, on product development and will also be available to provide growing, sowing and planting tips to businesses and individuals interested in growing their own organic food.

Look out for new Seed Pantry products, advice and planting tips coming soon. Sign up to our newsletter to keep up to date.

Welcome on board Mike!

You can see his work here

A day to reflect on our food systems – World Food Day 2013

World Food Day takes place on 16th October, aiming to raise awareness of world hunger issues with a focus this year on ‘Sustainable Food Systems for Food Security and Nutrition’.

The day aims to teach that each of us has the power to help change our food systems. By eating nutritious food and reducing the amount of waste we create, we can help make the world’s food systems more sustainable.

There are many activities and commemoration ceremonies taking place around the world, including sponsored Hunger Runs and a children’s poster design contest. Entries for this are now closed but the 60 finalists have been chosen with the winner to be announced on 16th October.

Here at Seed Pantry we strongly encourage growing your own as much as possible, reducing waste, and eating wholesome, fresh, organic foods. Now is a great time to start thinking about setting up a vegetable patch in the garden, or if you don’t have the space, our popular kits let you grow your own in even the smallest of outdoor spaces – from balconies, window sills and yards.

As well as being cost-effective, sustainable and environmentally friendly, growing your own veg, salads and herbs means you can eat completely organic, full flavour produce, grown and picked by you.

World Food Day was set up by the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations and 16th October is the day the organisation was founded in 1945.

Follow World Food Day on Twitter @FAOWFD and use the hashtags  #WFD2013 and #hungerto, or visit the website:

Taste of Autumn Festival at the RHS this month

The Royal Horticultural Society is hosting its annual Taste of Autumn Festival later this month at the Wisley Garden. From 16th to 20th October, head over to experience cookery demonstrations, produce stalls, apple tastings and family activities. Plus, celebrity chef James Martin will be making a guest appearance on the opening day with a book signing at 2pm.

Tempt your taste buds from the food stalls offering Autumn delights including sausages and pies, cheeses, fresh breads, snacks, chocolates and drinks.

There will be Wisley apple tasting sessions as well as apple pressing demonstrations. RHS experts will be giving talks and presentations on growing your own vegetables, salads and herbs, fruits, mushrooms, as well as on cheese and wine tasting and bee keeping.

Plus on 19th and 20th October, head over to the Restaurant for a special harvest festival brunch, complete with Wisely apple juice and berry compote, fresh coffee, brioche rolls, fruit field jams and a selection of egg dishes.

To find out more about the RHS Taste of Autumn Festival, visit the website:

Seed Pantry and Waitrose ‘Grow and Sell’ scheme hits stores now!

The ‘Grow and Sell’ initiative by Waitrose supermarkets to get school children growing their own fruit and veg goes live in stores across the country this month.

Shoppers at Waitrose supermarkets can choose to put their green token in the ‘Grow and Sell’ perspex box, as part of the store’s Community Matters project.

Seed Pantry has provided the ‘Grow and Sell’ seed kits for schools across the UK to set up and maintain their own vegetable patches. They contain seeds for the children to plant and grow vegetables such as lettuces, beetroots, peppers, peas and courgettes, all the pots, dibbers and equipment they need to get started as well as step-by-step instructions.

Aimed at 7 – 11 year olds in primary schools, the initiative aims to inspire over 100,000 children to grow their own produce. Children will learn about where food comes from, the impact and importance of the seasons and develop entrepreneurial skills by selling their produce directly to Waitrose shoppers.

Neil Whitehead, founder of Seed Pantry says: “We’re encouraging Waitrose shoppers, Seed Pantry customers and grow your own fans to pop their Waitrose green tokens in the ‘Grow and Sell’ boxes in store. The more tokens that are donated, the more packs will be provided for local schools.

It is a fantastic project for us to be involved with, as growing your own is something we are very passionate about and want to encourage among children of all ages.”

The scheme is live in most Waitrose stores so look out for the Grow and Sell boxes in your local store.

Be our grower of the month!

Here at Seed Pantry, we’re keen to find out more about our green-fingered foodie fans so we are looking for Growers of the month to be featured on our newsletter, website, Facebook and Twitter.

You can nominate yourself, a friend, a family member or someone in your community who is a ‘grow your own’ fan.

Just email us with your name, contact details and a short story about how you got into growing your own food, what you have grown, and a photo of some of your home-grown vegetables, salads and herbs. Entries will be reviewed by the Seed Pantry team and we’ll pick one winner every month.

Send your entries to titled ‘Grower of the month’

Happy growing and good luck!

A Fabulous Feast Of Foods in Urban Food Fortnight!

If you’re interested in growing your own food, or already have a flourishing veg patch, check out the activities taking place in and around London for Urban Food Fortnight.

Urban Food Fortnight takes place from 14th to 29th September 2013 so why not head along to meet like-minded growers from around the city, take part in grow your own activities or attend a pop up dinner in a polytunnel!

This is the capital’s second Urban Food Fortnight and allows food growers to sell their fruit, vegetables, salads, herbs and honey to local restaurants and shops. This supports the growers but also encourages eateries and shops to promote real ultra-local food.

There will also be fundraising events, an Edible Gardens Open Day (21st Sept) with over 50 food-growing spaces opening to the public, a dinner prepared by The Table Café at St Mungo’s community garden, as well as pop up cocktail bars in Skip Garden.

The event is part of the Capital Growth project, long supported by Seed Pantry, which is a partnership initative between London Food Link, the Major of London Boris Johnson and the Big Lottery Fund. It supports and encourages people to grow food in London, whether at home, on allotments, or as part of a community group. 

To find out more about Urban Food Fortnight, visit the website:

Capital Growth urban food fortnight

Seed Pantry’s support for new National Gardening Leave scheme

The New Economics Foundation has put together a proposal for a voluntary National Gardening Leave scheme – calling for a shorter working week, allowing us all to spend less time at the office and more time in the garden!

Fancy spending one day a week growing your own food? The NEF argues we would all reap the lifestyle, health and environmental benefits and that it would lead to a stonger, happier Britain.

It is also calling for the development of available outdoor spaces for gardening across Britain’s towns and cities.

It believes a four day working week, with one day dedicated to growing, sowing, planting and harvesting would leave people happier, healthier, and better equipped for these challenging times. As well as protecting the nation from external food price hikes it would also strengthen communities and give many disused outdoor areas a new useful lease of life.

Neil Whitehead, founder of Seed Pantry says: “This is a very interesting proposal and we look forward to hearing feedback from government bodies and ministers. We strongly support the idea that one day a week spent growing fruits, vegetables, salads and herbs would benefit people’s health, wellbeing and lifestyles, improve the physical suroundings of some areas of the country and strengthen communities. The proposal makes a very convincing case for a Gardening Leave scheme and we’ll watch the developments closely.”

For more information and to download the proposal, visit

Seed Pantry teams up with Waitrose to launch “Grow and Sell” scheme for schools

Seed Pantry is working with Waitrose supermarkets on a fantastic scheme to encourage schools to produce and sell home-grown food.

Aimed at 7 – 11 year olds in primary schools across the UK, the initiative aims to inspire over 100,000 children to grow their own produce over the summer months. Children will learn about where food comes from, the impact and importance of the seasons and develop entrepreneurial skills by selling their produce directly to Waitrose shoppers.

Seed Pantry has provided the “Grow and Sell Seed Kits” for schools to set up and maintain their own vegetable patches. They contain seeds for the children to plant and grow vegetables such as lettuces, beetroots, peppers, peas and courgettes, all the pots, dibbers and equipment they need as well as step-by-step instructions.

Alan Titchmarsh is also involved with the campaign and is helping to raise the profile of British agriculture and horticulture.

Neil Whitehead, founder of Seed Pantry says: “This is a fantastic project for us to be involved with and we are delighted to have been selected as the supplier for the school kits. Growing your own is something I am passionate about and this project is one that I am extremely proud of. I look forward to seeing the results over summer!

“It’s important to teach children from an early age where their food comes from, so they can appreciate the time and effort that goes into growing, maintaining and harvesting fresh produce. It also encourages children to eat well and to try a wider variety of foods, as well as giving them a huge sense of achievement when they watch their seeds grow lovely fresh, organic fruits, vegetables and herbs.”

The scheme is set to be rolled out across all 290 Waitrose stores and schools will be able to receive additional ‘Grow and Sell Seed Kits’ through the in-store Waitrose Community Matters scheme, where customers can support their local school by dropping a green token into the relevant perspex box.

More details are available on the Waitrose website: For more information on Seed Pantry grow your own kits, visit

Seed Pantry sponsors Chelsea Fringe event – Edible Askew Road

With Seed Pantry’s headquarters based on Askew Road, Shepherds Bush, it made perfect sense for us to get involved with this year’s Edible Askew Road festival.

Organised by the Hammersmith Community Gardens Association (HCGA), the event is part of the Chelsea Fringe Festival and aims to create a river of fruit trees along the Askew Road. The trees will be under-planted with flowers and herbs to attract bees and butterflies to the area during the late Spring months – and also to make Askew Road a delightful, vibrant green area.

The festival also encourages locals to appreciate the value of locally produced food and the organisers have invited local shops, cafes, restaurants, pubs and other businesses to sponsor a fruit tree and plant it outside their premises from 18th May to 9th June.

Naturally, we have rolled up our sleeves and got involved! We are one of the main sponsors of the festival and have also donated prizes for the treasure trail for local schools on both Edible Askew Road and sister project Edible High Road Chiswick.

Neil Whitehead, founder of Seed Pantry says: “Edible Askew Road is a great community event, bringing people together to enjoy growing, planting and transforming the road. The aim is to plant blossoming apple, peach, pear and plum trees, under-planted with herbs to attract all kinds of pollinating insects. Everyone can get involved so why not come down to Askew Road to see the trees and plants growing for yourself.”

Activity runs until Friday 7th June and culminates in a music and wine tasting event at the Ravenscourt Glasshouses at 6.30pm.

More details are available on the HCGA website:

Seed Pantry goes to Chelsea In Bloom

As part of the Chelsea Flower Show and Chelsea In Bloom Week, Seed Pantry will have a stall right in the middle of The Duke of York Square selling a wide range of food plants and herbs.

Pop down to see us from 20th – 25th May where we will be selling a great selection of seeds and plants to grow your own herbs, salads and vegetables at home.

We’ve got a fantastic selection of easy-to-grow seed kits and baby plants ready to be potted and planted at home. Have a look at our website to find out more:

For more information on activities in Due of York Square, visit

We look forward to seeing you there!