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.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Donated sculpture in Sidney’s Beacon Park a testament to perseverance

Victoria artist Armando Barbon picked up sculpting 22 years ago

Greater Victoria businesses come together to help Island kids

Langford Lowe’s raises funds for youth mental health all month

Sidney builds community resilience through neighbourhood gatherings

Meet Your Street needs residents to create gatherings, safe interactions

‘Each step is a prayer’: Ojibwe man will walk from Hope to Saanich for Indigenous healing, reconciliation

James Taylor departs Sept. 20, returns to Saanich in five days for sacred fire

3 new deaths due to COVID-19 in B.C., 139 new cases

B.C. confirms 40 ‘historic cases,’ as well

Ferry riders say lower fares are what’s most needed to improve service

Provincial government announces findings of public engagement process

Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg dies at 87

The court’s second female justice, died Friday at her home in Washington

Comox Valley protesters send message over old-growth logging

Event in downtown Courtenay was part of wider event on Friday

Application deadline for fish harvester benefits program extended

Those financially impacted by the pandemic have until Oct. 5 to apply

Emaciated grizzly found dead on central B.C. coast as low salmon count sparks concern

Grizzly was found on Gwa’sala-‘Nakwaxda’xw territory in Smith Inlet, 60K north of Port Hardy

VIDEO: B.C. to launch mouth-rinse COVID-19 test for kids

Test involves swishing and gargling saline in mouth and no deep-nasal swab

Young Canadians have curtailed vaping during pandemic, survey finds

The survey funded by Heart & Stroke also found the decrease in vaping frequency is most notable in British Columbia and Ontario

B.C. teachers file Labour Relations Board application over COVID-19 classroom concerns

The application comes as B.C.’s second week of the new school year comes to a close

Most Read