Anita Hayes was born in the American Midwest and moved to Ireland with her husband Tommy Hayes in 1989. During her studies in Ecological Agriculture at Evergreen State College in Olympia, Washington she was shocked to learn of the risks to food security through the loss of genetic biodiversity and began to focus her studies in this area. Inspired by the Seed Savers Exchange in Iowa in the US, Anita found that there was no similar organization in Ireland. Acutely aware of the importance of the work, she decided to just give it a go in Ireland and so began Irish Seed Savers Association.
Retiring from daily life at Irish Seed Savers, Anita is involved with Ciunas – a centre for carers providing supports to those helping those in need. Anita is still a founding member of Irish Seed Savers and is adviser on food conservation and policy to the team.