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WORK > 2023 > Satellite Seed Savers

Satellite Seed Savers links planetary imaginaries with localised environmental activities and action to ask: who will assemble, maintain and propagate plant varieties that have been grown in, or cultivated for, outer space?

There are many local and national seed saving programs that preserve the historical agricultural biodiversity of a place, but what happens when the place is outer space? 

Satellite Seed Savers is a post national seed saving program that collects, distributes and preserves the agricultural biodiversity of off-planet plants. Through seed swap pop-ups and Satellite Seed gardens a network of gardeners, communities and enthusiasts are mobilised to grow and interpret the seeds of edible plants that have been cultivated or eaten in space. 

Satellite Seed Saver gardens aim to direct the visitors’ gaze up towards the heavens and down towards the soil – connecting plants in the garden to multi-species activities in the sky and reflecting on environmental stewardship in outer space and here on Earth. 

Will there or should there be a permanent human culture in space? Do plants grown in space have a home here on Earth? To whom and to where do these non-terrestrial plant cultivars belong? How will we continue to co-evolve with non-human organisms on and off-planet?

It has been said that most astronauts return to the Earth with a profound awakening about the need to care for our planet.  We don’t all get to be astronauts but thinking about human activities in outer space through the lens of a plant that has traveled there is a chance to look down at the Earth from far away with a renewed sense of wonder, awe, humility and curiosity. 

We hope that through growing these non-terrestrial seeds, and actively reflecting on their provenance and journey, Satellite Seed Savers can harness some of these profound feelings, emotions, questions and experiences.

Satellite Seed Savers is the start of a wider research initiative called Space Permaculture which explores the desires and ideologies that drive humans to act together on Space Exploration & Terrestrial Agroecology.