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

by Sarvari Research Trust

About the project


Tipping Point £5,000
2nd Milestone £10,000
tipping point
In-kind donations range from drinks to office supplies. We even accept homemade cakes. See what else we need!
tipping point
25 hrs
In-kind donations range from drinks to office supplies. We even accept homemade cakes. See what else we need!

More about the project

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

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.
  • Regular time commitment
    Help us to gather and analyse results from all the trials and assessments of Crow.

Share your comments

Opinions and comments mentioned on the FundIt.Buzz website are the personal views of individual contributors. FundIt.Buzz takes no responsibility for these views. However if you find something that you think does not meet our guidelines you can report it to hello@fundit.buzz.
Simon White 18 December 2012 - 21:06

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 18 December 2012 - 08:22

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 17 December 2012 - 20:26

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 27 November 2012 - 16:09

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 27 November 2012 - 15:59

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

earth friendly gardener 19 November 2012 - 10:43

For anyone wanting to know more about the Sárpo potatoes, you can read a collection of my gardening articles all about them - and see pictures of the Sárpo varieties which are already available) here:

[Editors note: link removed. links to other sites not allowed by commentators]

David Shaw 13 November 2012 - 14:16

Hi Hiljoh,
Many thanks for spreading the word.I am not really surprised you were gobsmacked as I know how they perform in my garden and on the farm. Do you have any comments on how your Mira cooked? Did you chip/mash/roast etc? I hope you will be able to come to our special potato day in January and hear more about the project. Meantime, tell your Hall Green friends that they can use gift vouchers for Christmas pressies instead of a goat - a creative solution at this time of year.

David Shaw 13 November 2012 - 14:03

Hi RSN,Comparisons between our varieties - like Mira vs Axona are really valuable. Did you get yield data? Do you have a taste preference? Comparing like with like is always best but not always possible e.g. growing at same time in adjacent plots with same nutrients added and assessing yield/quality/taste. Re getting you seed to trial: we are working on ways to send seed without breaking the bank.

Hiljoh 07 November 2012 - 21:32

I've let all our members (the ones that have email) on our allotment site in Hall Green Birmingham know and asked them to help. With luck they should be purchasing some of these potatoes even if they only have a trial pack. And I would be surprised if they aren't hooked on Sarpo Mira - I was given some of these this year and have decided to grow them next year - after the summer we haven't had and all the water, the crop produced by our friends were hardly touched by blight or slugs and taste good and were a very decent size - I'm completely gobsmacked Excuse the language please!! Most definately worth trying!

RSN LANE 30 October 2012 - 02:05

We grew Sarpo Axona and Sarpo Mira this year - Axona did very well in our chalky soil, Mira not so good. Will certainly grow more Axona and possibly other Sarpo varieties.
Have just signed up as ?mover but wont be able to collect sample - however did want to help a little.

Simon White 10 October 2012 - 19:50

Hi Cleo
Thanks for your support. Yes, these varieties certainly do what we claim they do! Remember that ALL Sarpo varieties are available from Thompson + Morgan and, if over 250kg, directly from ourselves. Taylor's Bulbs are also selling Mira, Axona and Blue Danube
Thanks again
Simon White
Sarvari Research Trust

Judy Steele 10 October 2012 - 18:03

great to support a non gm plant breeding project. These spuds work. You can even buy Mira in garden centres sometimes and via the Organic Gardening Catalogue

Simon White 28 September 2012 - 22:52

Hi again Maria I tried to DM you on Twitter but it said your name was invalid! The £50 donation would get you a pack of certified seed of your choice plus a sample of the new variety to either taste test or grow on yourselves to assess performance and then taste test the resulting tubers. We aren't doing anything via Garden Organic that I am aware of. does this help?
All the best

Pat Collingwood 28 September 2012 - 11:56

Hi I'm in the same position as Maria I live in Lincolnshire too far to travel. I would be willing to pay postage and packing.

Maria Paola Andreoni 28 September 2012 - 10:57

Just in Herts, but it's a 5+ hrs drive anyway :) I see your point about handling & mailing costs, but you are cutting your stakeholders considerably that way. What if I pay for costs? It is still not clear to me which is the option that includes testing - are you maybe thinking of doing it through Garden Organic again? Let's keep in touch anyway, you can DM me on Twitter @mpaola

Simon White 27 September 2012 - 19:58

Hi Maria
Sorry you wont be able to get across for the day. Whereabouts in the world are you? One of the reasons we decided on having a Potato Day was to minimise the costs of distributing material to sponsors. I'm sure you can imagine that mailing seed and ware potatoes is an expensive business and we want all the money raised by the Crowd to go towards getting this new potato registered. Is there another way I wonder?
Stay in touch and we will try and work something out
All the best
Simon White
Sarvari Research Trust

Maria Paola Andreoni 27 September 2012 - 18:47

What if I cannot go all the way to Wales for the potato day but would like to do some testing? Which option is for me?

Simon White 12 September 2012 - 14:58

As we will have to distribute seed and ware potatoes to all our lovely sponsors, the Potato Day will more likely be in March!

Simon White 12 September 2012 - 13:34

Hi Diane
Potato Day is usually in early August but exact date will be confirmed nearer the time
Hope this helps
Simon White
Sarvari Research Trust

Diane Oliver 12 September 2012 - 13:18

Hi, when's the potato day being held please?

Calum Shaw 11 September 2012 - 21:18

Reducing agricultural CO2 output through reduced chemical spraying. Very promising! Look forward to finding out if they taste as good as others in the Sarpo family.

spudman 11 September 2012 - 09:47

2012 has been the worst year for potato blight I can remember. infestation stated quite early. All my Sarpo varieties are still going strong and provide robust defence. Neighbours lost their crops in July and August. There is no doubt that the Sarvari Trusr leads the world in breeding blight resistance varieties - try them yourself and please support this appeal.

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About the organisation

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.

Geographical coverage

Within UK

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 Recognitions

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.