A Native Seed Vault for Ireland

A Native Seed Vault for Ireland

One of our core missions is to safeguard high-quality, scientific seed and plant material collections, including rare, endangered, and at-risk native plant species in a living seed bank. As our climate changes, the need to a native seed vault is becoming even more crucial in protecting our flora from the effects of climate change. For the past 10 years, we have operated in temporary buildings, but now we are excited to present a proposal for a permanent facility that will greatly improve the sustainability of our work. Designed with eco-friendliness in mind, the building will include renewable energy systems and nature friendly features. It will house a seed vault for native plants and be a resource for research, public engagement, and raise awareness for native plant conservation. If accepted, it will become The Native Irish Seed Vault.

Where We Are Now

We currently house high quality, scientific seed and plant material collections of native flora with duplicate collections stored at Kew’s Millennium Seed Bank Partnership. Our seed collections play a vital role in preserving and conserving the biodiversity of plant life on the island of Ireland. We store seeds of native plant species, by safeguarding these seeds, we help maintain the genetic diversity necessary for healthy ecosystems and resilient plant populations. Our seed vault is a valuable resource for ecological restoration projects, providing the seeds that make the projects possible. By using native-origin seeds from native plants, the ecological integrity and functionality of the ecosystem can be maintained and protected.

The Design

Designed by Hutcheson Irvine Partnership LLP, The Native Irish Seed Vault draws inspiration from the character of local agricultural buildings. The design reflects the agricultural nature and workings of the seed vault. Our aspiration is for this seed vault to stand the test of time, and become an enduring part of the region’s architectural heritage. The new building will greatly improve the sustainability of our work and will secure a facility for the charity’s continuation for future generations. This proposal represents the need of permanent agricultural facilities here at True Harvest Seeds, it will allow us to continue our work in a more efficient and effective way and increase our ability to help native plant life.

As seen on the sketch, there is a two storey building that will house the necessary facilities for seed conservation. Starting with a harvest delivery route that leads up into a harvest and drying loft where we will bring the seeds just after they have been dried in the polytunnel. On this floor we also have a room for records and archives relating to our seed collections as well as a herbarium. Directly below these rooms, are a seed cleaning room and drying room that further readies the seed for storage. Leading on from these are cold and dry rooms which are protective environments for us to work with the seed. Lastly, at the core of the building, is the native seed vault which will house collections at -20°C.

Sustainability lies at the heart of The Native Irish Seed Vault’s design so the structure will employ renewable energy sources and water conservation systems. This will neutralise our carbon footprint and help reduce running costs. Its design will also serve as an example of an eco-friendly agricultural building. Air source heat pump for underfloor heating. We plan to add swift bricks, swallow ledges, insect hotels, bat boxes to give homes to the local wild life so the building belongs to nature as much as possible. We will continue our use of environmentally friendly and organically approved cleaning products. The building will be be of modest size, leaving 3 1/4 acres of growing land for our crop of native wildflowers. Our hope is that The Native Irish Seed Vault will be an example of sustainable building that can be referenced by the public who are interested in building this way.

More Than a Seed Vault

The Native Irish Seed Vault is not just a storage facility; it will serve as a head quarters for our charity. The building features a foyer where a wall of our seed vault will be visible with named contributors from our Buy A Brick Fundraiser. Plant material is available to bona fide individuals and organisations for global and local research and restoration projects throughout Ireland, giving the seed vault local, regional and national value. Researchers and botanists can also access our seed vault for research, scientific inquiry and collaboration. Public engagement in our work is so important for the conservation of our native plants, the building will offer better facilities for our hardworking staff and volunteers.

Thinking of the Future

With the proposal of The Native Irish Seed Vault, we are recommitting to preserving Ireland’s native plant species. By marrying traditional design and sustainability, the building not only safeguards seeds for future generations but also raises awareness about the critical importance of our conservation work. Our Seed Vault will stand as a beacon of hope for the island of Ireland, reminding us of our responsibility to protect and cherish the natural world around us. Join us as we embark on this journey to nurture the flowers of tomorrow in the seeds of today and ensure the flourishing of Ireland’s plant life for generations to come.


If you feel called to fundraise for our cause please contact fundraising@trueharvestseeds.org or you can donate directly to our GoFundMe

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