My name is Clare O’ Grady Walshe and I am a Research Fellow at Trinity College Dublin. I am the Director of the newly established Seed Sovereignty Group in the Discipline of Botany and Geography, School of Natural Sciences, at Trinity College Dublin. 

Established in October 2020, with funding from The Mary Robinson Climate Justice Foundation, the purpose of the TCD Seed Sovereignty Group, is to establish a Seed Sovereignty Centre at Trinity College Dublin in 2021. With a focus on seed sovereignty, (the right to sow, save, use, share, breed and determine own seed futures), the centre will be an important third-level responder to the transformative shift in global consciousness on the importance of seed sovereignty, not just in saving the planet’s rich, shared biocultural diversity, but simultaneously acting as the best buffer against climate change and other shocks which threaten food security, all central features of my research interests. The centre will provide cutting-edge peer-reviewed academic research, innovative and participatory pedagogical programmes, and global, national and local level links with practical application. I am a member of the Trinity College Botanic Gardens, TCD Environmental Research Governance Group and TCD Centre for the Environment.

I have been an author and independent researcher specialising in seed and biodiversity politics for over a decade, and a seedsaver, sharer and grower for twenty years. I have recently become chair of the Gaia Foundation’s Ireland Seed Sovereignty Advisory group. I have served on the Irish Aid Advisory Committee, The Heritage Council, the Irish Government High-Level Task Force on Green Enterprise, and as a voluntary board member of the Irish Seed Savers Association (I am a Member of the Company of ISSA) and Northern Ireland based charity Children in Crossfire. My involvement with Action from Ireland (Afri) spans over 25 years including coordination of their cross-border, cross-community development education programme for over a decade.  I have also served as the Executive Director of Greenpeace in Ireland and as a Trustee of Greenpeace International and a voting member of Greenpeace UK and Ukraine. 

I originally hail from Co. Wexford, in Ireland’s sunny South East, thereafter moving to Cork  where I received a B.Soc.Sc (1986) and M.A. Sociology on ‘Cultural Perspectives on Development: A Case study of Nicaragua 1979-1990’ (2004) from University College Cork. I was awarded a scholarship from the School of Law and Government at Dublin City University, where I completed my PhD (2018) and my post-doctoral fellowship. I am a Research Associate of the School.

My doctoral and post-doctoral research focussed on seed sovereignty and globalisation in the context of Politics and international relations, with particular reference to recent seed laws/policies and emerging value chains in East Africa and the transnational governance of plant genetic resources in the context of climate change and food shocks.  My book on this topic, which is now available in paperback (May 2020),  has been nominated by Palgrave Macmillan Publishers for the 2021 Agarwal Prize from the International Association for Feminist Economics. 

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