Young gardener looking to future

Green-fingered gardener Jordan Healey is on a mission to protect New Zealand's gardening heritage with his new online project dubbed Seed Savers NZ.

Although in its infancy, Jordan is keen to get in touch with other like-minded backyard horticulturists interested in preserving and sharing the dwindling stock of heirloom seeds.

The 17-year-old is using the power of social media to connect with people collecting heirloom seeds and his goal is simple - get people growing self-sustainable fruit and vegetables.

Jordan says the beauty of an heirloom seed is in its ability to yield sturdy stock that is full of flavour and with seeds that can be reproduced.

Many seeds available for sale are either genetically modified or inbred, he says, creating plants that produce inferior fruit or infertile seeds.

Varieties of food crops have dwindled since the Industrial Revolution and, in many cases, where there were once hundreds of assortments of a particular vegetable or fruit only 20 to 50 are available commercially.

The heirloom plant movement has gained momentum in reaction to this shortage and the nana and granddad vegetable gardens of old are making a comeback all over the world.

A keen gardener from a very early age, Jordan says the gardening gene skipped a couple of generations before settling on him.

"My great-grandfather had a massive garden and he grew prize-winning orchids and the one on the other side grew prize-winning gladioli."

He bought his first heirloom seeds at a garden centre for $10 a packet several years ago and wondered how he could kick-off an initiative to grow cost-effective heritage plants.

Seed Savers was then born and Jordan hopes to grow the movement so more people can share and swap seeds at no cost, and, of course, enjoy the benefits of growing delicious fruit and vegetables.

For more information search for Seed Savers NZ on Facebook or contact Jordan at or 022 608 3463.

- Hamilton News

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