Commercial and small-scale growers gathered at the Sooke Community Hall to celebrate Seedy Saturday on Feb. 25.
Over a dozen different growers showcased information on their gardens, shared techniques, and sold items like vegetables, fruits, seeds, jams and plant start ups. There was also a seed swap, where participants could trade seedlings.
Seedy Saturday — which is in its third year — was a celebration of local food production and gardening, according to Phoebe Dunbar, Sooke Region Food Community Health Initiative Society board director.
“Everybody comes together, and they swap seeds and they learn what grows well in their community,” Dunbar said, adding that knowledge of local, edible wild foods was also shared.
She said Food CHI focuses on teaching people that you can grow food anywhere — huge acreages, large vegetable plots and even small contained spaces.
“It’s all about, kind of, coaching people,” she said.
Food CHI is currently developing a cooperative network model for local farmers.
Erika Rolston, stalwart for the network project, said she is making a directory of all local farmers to collaborate and work collectively for similar objectives. For example, requesting training from a governmental body or organizing bulk purchases of soil amendment.
Rolston said there will also be a resource directory, where local farmers can supply different resources they have available within the community.
“The idea right now is that it’s a really informal network of farmers and food producers — whether they’re farmers or food producers or just sustenance from their own backyards.”
She said the main goal is sustaining local food systems and food security, so the residents of Sooke will have other food sources if the grocery store shelves aren’t stocked.
“Not only is it safe, locally grown food that is nutritious, but we want it to be affordable.”
Keeley Nixon, with Alm Farm and Full Circle Seeds, said the Seedy Saturday did a great job at encouraging food security.
“It’s a wonderful event, and I think it’s a great venue to have for all our local growers to have place to come and connect within our community,” she said. “And for our community to be able to see all the work that we’re doing and how important our local food security is.”
The cooperative directory should be available online when completed at: www.sookefoodchi.ca