Seeds of Diversity
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March 2014 – The Spring Edition

If seed savers have a handle on anything in particular, it's probably hope. From where I write in Southern Ontario, hope is certainly required this year. The 1st day of spring has just come and gone, leaving nothing but snow and ice outside our windows. However, we know that every year the snow DOES melt, our gardens defrost, and our seeds grow. It was with this kind of hope that the seed of an idea for our organization was planted three decades ago, and this year Seeds of Diversity celebrates our 30th Anniversary. There are many continuing traditions – Seedy Saturdays and our Member Seed Directory to name just two. But so many new projects have grown and continue to emerge. If you're curious about our roots, watch for our next magazine coming out by the end of the month: Bob has written a great article that walks us through our 30-year history.

Fun Fact: In our first magazine in 1989, we listed two seed companies that sold heirloom open-pollinated seeds. They were the only ones in Canada! Today – 25 years later – both are still operating and both are run by members.

~Angie Koch

 

Saving Seeds for 30 Years!

Thirty years ago, the Canadian Organic Growers (COG) formed a seed-saving project called the "Heritage Seed Program". That project grew, and eventually became an organization - Seeds of Diversity! The warning signs were starting to appear that traditional seed varieties were becoming harder to find. Growers who bought their seeds every year were dismayed to find their favourite varieties dropped from seed catalogues. Often, the seeds sold through many companies were actually retailed from the same wholesale supplier, so a discontinued variety could disappear from several catalogues at once. Worse, it was becoming more common during the 1980s for small seed companies to be bought up by larger companies, and their whole assortment to be abandoned.

Read more...


Micro-Seedbanking: How to Set Up Your Own Community Seed Bank

Thinking of creating your own seed bank? Here is a new resource from Seeds of Diversity and the Bauta Family Initiative on Canadian Seed Security that outlines the main steps.

Whether your seed collection is big enough for a walk-in freezer, or small enough for a shoe-box; whether it is a personal collection or a shared community collection, you want your seeds to last as long as possible in storage, and you want to use the best methods for testing, organizing, and labeling. This primer was written for you, with the best seed conservation methods we know of that can be achieved in a house, office, public library, or community center, at a minimum cost.

Read more...


The Fish Lake Garlic Man

When he started growing garlic, Ted was truly a pioneer. His “garlic gospel” was initially received with some scepticism, but his passion and tenacity helped build a movement in Canada. Ted became well-known to many garlic growers across the country, sending out his Fish Lake brand of garlic varieties by mail order, and mentoring many in the art of garlic production. He collected and grew dozens of garlic varieties and produced from both clove and bulbil, calling his farm his “Garlic Research and Experimental Station.”

Read more...


Pollinator Patch: Habitat Case Study

Tallgrass prairie contains a diverse mix of native flowers and grasses, and it used to cover much of Ontario before settlement. Prairie grasses provide habitat and food for pollinators, grassland birds and badgers, amongst other wildlife. The deep roots of the grasses can sequester carbon at the same rate as forests, and the native assemblages tolerate a wide range of temperatures, unaffected by drought conditions. On Csoff’s land, you will find big and little bluestem grasses, as well as Indian and switch grasses – all plants that pollinators love. So far, Gunther is happy with the results. He’s allowing the field to flourish for five years to build fertility before planting crops there again.

Read more...

In this issue

Saving Seeds for 30 Years!

Micro-Seedbanking: How to Set Up Your Own Community Seed Bank

The Fish Lake Garlic Man

Pollinator Patch: Habitat Case Study

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