Skip to main content Skip to navigation


Man stood in front of a shed
Oxfam logo
  • 1980 | The UK Vegetable Genebank was built following donations to an Oxfam special appeal. Concern in the late 70s over genetic erosion in vegetable crops and its potential long-term effect on the nutritional base providing a healthy diet world-wide initiated the appeal. The OXFAM appeal fund made annual contributions towards the running costs of the UKVGB for seven years up to September 1987, and these were supplemented by funds from the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (MAFF).
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs logo
  • 1987 | The Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (MAFF) took over the running costs of the UKVGB. This Ministry was later merged with other departments to form The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Commission (DEFRA), who still fund the UKVGB now.
Prince Charles visiting the UKVGB
  • 1989 | King Charles III, at the time His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales, visited the UKVGB.
Inside of a temperature controlled room with racked shelving
  • 2004 | An extension was built to on to the original UKVGB building to house the Genomic Resources Seed Archive. This contained a second long-term seed store, as well as an additional temperature controlled room for drying and processing seeds.
Norah Stucken Award
  • 2006 | The UKVGB received the Norah Stucken Award, administered by the Institute of Horticulture. This was in recognition of "the major international role that the unit has played in the conservation of horticultural germplasm".
Three different coloured carrots
  • 2009 | The VeGIN project was established. As part of this project the VeGIN diversity sets were created. These contain large proportions of material from the UKVGB collection, and aim to span a breadth of diversity for an individual crop.
Svalbard Global Seed Vault
  • 2018 | The UKVGB deposits its first seeds in the Svalbard Global Seed Vault.
UKVGB director holding certificate with the Norwegian Prime Minister
  • 2020 | In 2020 The UKVGB celebrated its 40th birthday. As part of our celebrations we deposited a further 1,000 seed samples in the Svalbard Global Seed Vault, with our director Charlotte Allender attending the ceremony in person and receiving a certificate from the Norwegian Prime Minister.