Planting the seeds for change

Seedy Saturday set for Feb. 26

Seedy Saturday set for Feb. 26

Saving seeds is nothing new. Farmers have been saving seeds for the last 11,000 years, the problem over the last 50 years has been the commercialisation of seeds, industrial agriculture, and in the last decade, the domination of the commercial seed market by a handful of transnational companies.

There are the obvious reasons why large companies prefer one seed over another, but for the average farmer/gardener in Canada the reason for saving seeds is cost and quality. Many save seeds as they are no longer available or they are heritage varieties. Many seed varieties are facing extinction due to the lack of genetic diversity.

Seedy Saturday is a day set aside, usually in February when people get together to buy, trade and talk seeds. In Sooke, Seedy Saturday is on February 26.

The first Seedy Saturday was held in Vancouver on February 14, 1989, St. Valentine’s Day, because seed is at the heart of food security in every community.

Mary Alice Johnson is at the forefront of seed saving in Sooke. She runs Full Circle Seeds and is an avid seed collector. They have a collection of over 50 varieties of tomatoes plus lettuces and salad greens.

“Seedy Saturdays have allowed us to flourish,” said Johnson. “Having it here in Sooke mans a lot of small companies can come here as it is affordable.”

Last year Seedy Saturday was held along the corridors at SEAPARC and it was well attended and a very full day for everyone involved. This year, the event is being held at the Sooke Community Hall.

There will be a seed exchange happening throughout the day as long as they have seeds to swap.

Many of the seeds have interesting stories. Johnson said one tomato variety she has was given to her by a Kemp Lake resident. It’s a hardy variety coming from Northern Italy and well suited for the Sooke climate.

“Many are organic, open-pollinated, perhaps something Uncle Joe brought from Italy,” she said. “It’s neat how they get passed along.”

“The focus,” said Jessica Boquist of the day, “is on seeds but also on gardening.”

She mentioned the Compost Education Centre from Victoria as being one of the participants. The District of Sooke and Communities in Bloom will be giving away free tree seedlings and there will be other seedlings for sale.

As with most things there is usually one thing that is sought after and this year it happens to be stinging nettle.

Johnson said it is like spinach, and is used as a spring tonic which is often fed to chickens in the winter to increase their egg production. Another plant, Pilgrim’s cabbage (brassica oleracea), similar to collard greens, is used in many Portugese and Spanish soups. The seeds were gifted to Johnson in 2009 by Linda Dowling, who received them from a friend who obtained it during a pilgrimage from France to Spain.

The day will also feature workshops on such topics as seed saving basics and seed propagation, demonstrations, music, a historical farming display by Elida Peers, and food. There is still room for a few more tables. Entrance is by donation with all proceeds after costs going to the fruit tree project. Members from the Sooke Fall Fair will be holding a flea market downstairs.

For more information, contact Jessica Boquist at 250-589-2577.

Just Posted

UVic science and engineering research gets $18.8 million federal funding boost

Funding for engineering, science, sustainability research

Horse carriage supporters to rally outside city hall

Owner of carriage company plans rally in response to Coun. Ben Isitt’s motion

Virtual reality arcade in Langford opens doors to new worlds

‘You can be on the Titanic, petting giraffes in Africa… killing zombies or be chased by dinosaurs’

Cyclists and drivers take to the streets Wednesday morning in first official Bike to Work Week celebration

The 25th annual Greater Victoria Bike to Work Week kicks off the followingMonday, May 27

Killer of Calgary mother, daughter gets no parole for 50 years

A jury found Edward Downey guilty last year in the deaths of Sara Baillie, 34, and five-year-old Taliyah Marsman

Raptors beat Bucks 120-102 to even series at 2-2

Lowry pours in 25 as Toronto moves within two games of NBA Finals

Body of missing snowmobiler recovered from Great Slave Lake

Police confirm the body is that of one of three missing snowmobilers

Christmas morning burglar sentenced on Vancouver Island

Justin Redmond Feusse, 20, sentenced to 240 days in jail for Dec. 25 break-and-enter

‘Conservation financing’ could stop old-growth logging

Reader says with this type of financing province recognizes the benefit of forests

So, do you know ‘Dave from Vancouver Island’?

Ontario man searching for fellow he travelled with in Europe 50 years ago

Toddler seriously injured after falling from Okanagan balcony

RCMP are investigating after a two-year-old boy fell from the balcony of an apartment in Kelowna

Mamma Mia! Here we go again at Sooke’s EMCS theatre

Production of Mamma Mi! features ABBA tunes that leave you humming

Cost jumps 35% for Trans-Canada Highway widening in B.C.

Revelstoke-area stretch first awarded under new union deal

Most Read