Our no-spray potato can feed the world – with your help

0 Hours to go
£10,020 raised of
£10,000 target

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About this Project

Our Research Trust breeds non-GM, blight-resistant potatoes that don’t need constant spraying. These are known as Sarpo varieties.

Listen to David Shaw in his interview with Radio Dublin to learn all about the work they are doing!

We have a promising new seedling (let’s call it Crow, short for Crowdfunded for now) to extend our Sarpo range. We need to test Crow’s performance against standard varieties in the field/garden and in the kitchen. Then we can send seed of Crow for government testing (very expensive) over two growing seasons. If the regulators agree that Crow would make a useful new variety, they will award it National List status. Then the variety can make a big contribution to really sustainable food production in UK and abroad. We need £10,000 to help us do this.

We can’t get grant funding for this kind of work because is thought to be near market research and therefore a private matter. Breeders of GM resistant potatoes do get grant support! So, if you join us by donating funds, time or skills, it can make all the difference.

As a backer, you can participate in our research by testing Crow and sending us your results.

Get Involved

Here are some great ways to get involved with the project and help out:
If you have...
2 minutes –
Tell a friend to check out the project.
5 minutes –
Tell three friends about our project.
15 minutes –
Plan your Christmas presents and send for gift card contributions instead of buying unwanted pressies.
30 minutes –
Tweet, blog, facebook about our project and its rewards to your contacts, especially influential ones with lots of money.
A few hours –
Start a growing project in your field, garden, balcony, patio or village green,– the world is your potato. Get the local school to grow them. Instead of the kids finding a rotting mess they can dig up treasure in September and win a prize. Send us your stories.
A regular time commitment –
Help us to gather and analyse results from all the trials and assessments of Crow.

Read More

Geographical coverage
Within UK
What is the social/environmental problem/issue that this project will address?
Potato crops are routinely sprayed with many toxic chemicals. The harvested spuds are also treated with chemical and stored in huge refrigerators to prevent them sprouting over the winter, growing their C footprint by the minute.
Can you give us some statistics on this problem?
Blight sprays are applied to nearly all potato crops regularly and up to 15 times in the season. This can be hazardous for the farmers and their neighbours and costs an estimated £25 million per year in GB.

The cost in pollution of the environment is not known. The carbon footprint of growing and storing potatoes is large and is inflated by the synthesis of spray chemicals and fuel for spraying. Refrigerated storage is expensive in money and C-footprint.
What is your solution?
Grow our Sarpo potato varieties that need little or no blight spray, no sprays against virus-transmitting aphids and need no weedkiller as they can smother weeds.

Their long natural dormancy means they can be stored for six months in a simple, unrefrigerated store.
How will you deliver this?
Most consumers don’t know about these potatoes. We know they will love them and demand them in future, helping to fund our research into the future.

Our certified potato seed is grown for us by local farmers. We plan to train more farmers to grow seed and have it certified as pure and disease free. This will provide our farmers with an additional source of farm income and increase our seed stocks.

We can then get Sarpo varieties going “viral” in fields and gardens at home and abroad because blight is not just a problem here. Growers world-wide are looking for sustainable solutions to control blight

About Us

Vision and Mission
We are trying to make the growing of the potato crop sustainable by breeding new varieties needing low chemical and energy inputs.
Our Track Record
We have developed 7 blight resistant potato varieties. Seed of these has been grown by local farmers in North Wales. More than 100 tonnes of certified seed has been sold, mainly into Horticulture each year.
Who Do We Help?
We help all those who want to grow potatoes sustainably and responsibly and therefore help to reduce the chemical and energy burden on the planet. We also help growers and contractors in North Wales who can supplement income by growing and transporting certified seed.
Awards and Accreditations
Seven of our varieties have been awarded a place on the National List.
Our main seed multiplication farm has been awarded Safe Haven Status. This means that special precautions are undertaken in production to prevent the introduction of notifiable bacterial diseases.
Project Contact Details
David Shaw
Organisation Details
Sarvari Research Trust
Siambra Gwynion, Llandygai
Bangor, Wales

(+44 (0) 1248 364 260

Company Limited by Guarantee #4453593

Share Your Comments

Simon White
To all our Cheerleaders, Friends, Movers, Players, Shakers and Go-Getters, thank you so very much for getting us to not one but two milestones. £10,000 raised! What a crowd!
We hope to see most of you at the Potato Day but if you can't make it we will try and send seed and copies of any literature etc
You've all done so much but we ask one more thing - tell as many of your friends about us and our varieties as you can. Our long term survival is dependent on these varieties being taken up on a large scale at home and/or abroad. Then we can continue to produce more varieties like Crow for you.
Many, many thanks again and have a brilliant Christmas and New Year
Simon White
Sarvari Research Trust

David Shaw
Hi Tom, Thanks for this endorsement. Quality eating places who know their ingredients are worth listening to. Had several similar comments from our Irish friends recently. Blue Danube is a favourite of mine too but I have to be careful not to favour one or the others will not be happy.

Tom Rigby
Hi David, I supply organic potatoes into Manchester and one quality eating place tells me Mira are the best potatoes they have ever had (while personally I think your Blue Danube are certainly the prettiest variety I have ever grown).

David Shaw
To all of our Cheerleaders, Friends and Aristos: we don't have many days left and need a lot more Backers. Why not do us a big favour and tell 5 of your best friends about our project now - be they potato growers or not (or even potatogeek like me.) This could generate a wave or ripple. Please tweet or facebook or email. Hey, most of us have a phone and that's useful too.
CHEER LOUDLY, PLEASE. It would be sad to loose the money already pledged.

David Shaw
I would like to recommend earthFriendlygardeners excellent articles telling you exactly what we are doing. Thanks eFg.


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Back This Venture
Become a fan and receive buzzing updates on progress of our project!
18 Backers Purchased 18 Units
Be an honoured guest at our Potato Day. Meet the crowd and see how our potatoes can feed the world at our Henfaes Research Centre on the beautiful North Wales coast. Bring your family and friends too.
38 Backers Purchased 39 Units
Come to our Potato Day AND pick up a pack of certified seed potatoes to grow on and enjoy!
62 Backers Purchased 64 Units
Come to our Potato Day, receive a pack of certified seed potatoes AND Crow spuds to take home and grow or taste test.
27 Backers Purchased 27 Units
All the above and stay for a special potato-themed dinner.
8 Backers Purchased 10 Units
Go Getter
All the above AND take home 25kg of Sarpo spuds and 5 gift packs of Sarpo certified seed potatoes!
4 Backers Purchased 12 Units

1st Milestone
Our first milestone gets us on our way.
2nd Milestone
Our target fundraising milestone.
The buzz on the project
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Project Supporters
Pippa Green
Bob Sherman
Richard Tapper
John R Carpenter
Tom Rigby