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Ana Attlee and Emily Lambert | Seedball

Wildflower seeds in a fertile ball

Ana Attlee and Emily Lambert met at the University of Aberdeen while researching conservation and systems biology. They shared an interest in using enterprise to help the environment by turning research into practical action.

Environment YES in 2010 provided the skills, insights and the confidence to begin developing a business. They began designing and manufacturing a wildflower gardening product to help improve habitats for pollinators and wildlife in domestic gardens, window boxes and patio pots.

"Environment YES gave us the confidence and knowledge to really go for it - we couldn't recommend the training highly enough."

Inspiration from Japan

The result of their research and development was Seedball, a fertile sphere containing a mini-ecosystem.

The idea germinated after Ana read about work by Japanese agronomist and monk, Masanobu Fukuoka, who revived the ancient technique of seed propagation where compost, clay and seed are mixed into marble sized balls and scattered to grow crops more efficiently.

Ana and Emily loved this concept and could see its permacultural benefits over conventional approaches. Their innovation was to adapt the recipe to suit wildflower seed, adding chilli powder into the mix to further protect seed from ants and seedlings from slugs.

Message in a Seedball

By 2012, using homemade packaging containing their first seed ball prototypes, they began selling at fairs and festivals.

By the end of that year, Seedball had grown a large social media following, were stocked by their first shop and had made enough money to employ a design team to give the Seedball brand a makeover.

In 2013 Seedball launched officially. It is driven by social and environmental purpose, so all profits from sales are invested in social enterprise Project Maya. One aim is to help other scientists embed impact in their work.

Top impacts

Based on an ancient Japanese idea, Emily and Ana added a hot modern twist to their Seedballs: a pinch of chilli powder to deter garden predators naturally.

Retail reach
Now stocked by over 150 retailers in Britain and across mainland Europe, including Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, Netherlands, Sweden, and Switzerland, Seedball’s sales also thrive online.

Conservation benefits
All Seedball profits fund the work of Project Maya establishing global reserves worldwide. Seedball ingredients are natural and peat-free. The reusable, highly recyclable tins are manufactured locally using renewable energy.


More Information

Visit Seedball and Project Maya

Young Entrepreneurs Scheme

  • Haydn Green Institute for Innovation and Entrepreneurship
  • Nottingham University Business School
  • Jubilee Campus
  • Nottingham, NG8 1BB