Seed Pilgrimage: A Quest for Seed Sovereignty

Through her work with medicinal plants, Belle Benfield’s art practice asks of humans how our relationship with our health and our environment might improve when we bring plants to the foreground of our consciousness.

In 2016, Belle Benfield began her own pilgrimage: a Seed Pilgrimage.   Walking along the St Michael’s Way ( a British leg of the network of pilgrim routes that lead to the Cathedral of St James in Santiago de Compostella), Belle documented and collected the seeds of all the medicinal plants she found along the Way.

A quest to honour our abundant plant healers and allies.

A quest to honour seeds, the container of life.

A year later, as autumn begins, the season when plants offer us their seed, Belle Benfield brings her project, Seed Pilgrimage to Geneva to mark the beginning of her residency at Utopiana that will continue through to spring 2018.

Belle will continue her Seed Pilgrimage by gathering the seeds of medicinal plants found along the beginning of the Chemin de Saint Jaques, a route which begins in Geneva, running through France to Le Puy.

Currently corporate owned seed counts for 82% of our seed supply. A supply  controlled by seven companies which if Dow Chemical and Dupont merge at the end of August could become six. Seeds are the building blocks of our food chain.  As 80% of the world’s population use herbal medicine as part of their primary healthcare, seeds are also the building blocks of our health.

Herbalism: healing with medicinal plants, is a sensory language. A language that speaks both to the body and the land.  It is a conversation currently open to anyone who picks, dries, macerates and tastes the plants that grow abundantly in hedgerows, on canal banks, in gardens and on roadsides.

Belle is one third of the Seed SistAs, a trio of artists and herbalists from the UK who work to keep herbal medicine where it belongs: in everyone’s hands.