Chelsea Green Publishing has landed a book from Adam Alexander, "the Indiana Jones of vegetables".
Muna Reyal, head of editorial, bought world rights to The Seed Detective from Sonia Land of Sheil Land Associates. The book will be published in autumn 2022.
The publisher said: "Adam presents a compelling, passionate narrative about his relationship with 15 treasured vegetables. A mix of personal storytelling, history, geography, biology and gardening, Adam takes the reader on a journey that began 12,000 years ago when humans left the life of the hunter-gatherer to take up growing veggies. He tells the stories of how vegetables found their way into our lives – tales of globalisation, political intrigue, colonisation and serendipity. But, above all, they show us the remarkable resilience and ingenuity of the first farmers and the generations that followed, and how they have enriched our cultural and culinary life."
Alexander said: "We are a nation of vegetable growers and this book explores the wonderful world of heritage and heirloom vegetables – and why we must keep growing them and saving their seed, not only for our gardening and culinary pleasure, but to pass these stories on – vegetables are truly our history on a plate."
Alexander spent 40 years as a film and television producer, but says his true passion is collecting rare, endangered and delicious vegetables from around the world. He lectures widely on his work and is a board member of the national charity Garden Organic. He shares seeds with other growers and gene banks in the EU, the US and Canada, and he is currently growing out seed of heritage Syrian vegetables to be returned to the Middle East as part of a programme to revive traditional horticulture. He has appeared on "Gardeners’ World" and the "Great British Food Revival".
Reyal said: "As soon as I read Adam’s manuscript, I knew it was the book for us, offering as it does a unique insight into how growers across time and continents brought wild species into our gardens – the perfect mix of food and farming that Chelsea Green is renowned for. I love the way Adam offers skillful storytelling and practical wisdom, all underpinned with a sustainable heart."