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Back to April 2021 Newsletter

The Save One Rare Variety Challenge

Here's the easiest and best way to make a real difference as a seed saver. You don't need a lot of experience, a lot of space, or any special tools. Just choose a plant species that you know how to grow, find a variety that's relatively rare, and learn how to grow more of those seeds. If everyone just Saved One Rare Variety in their garden, those seeds might not be rare anymore!


How to Find Out Which Varieties are Rare

We have two online tools that can help you find a variety that's rare enough to need saving.

  • Our Member Seed Directory lists all the seeds that are saved and re-offered by our member seed growers. Anyone can read through it, and members can request seeds from other members. As many as two-thirds of the varieties offered in the Directory each year are not available from seed companies, which makes it the biggest source in Canada for truly rare varieties. We challenge you to choose one interesting variety from the Seed Directory that is offered by only one person. Grow it, save the seeds, and offer them the the Directory next year.
  • Our Canadian Seed Catalogue Index and Ecological Seed Finder list all the vegetable seed varieties offered in Canadian garden seed catalogues. Newly updated for 2021, we index 8345 different seed varieties from 89 Canadian companies. You can find out which varieties are rare and which aren't just by looking at how many companies sell each variety. We challenge you to choose one interesting variety that's only offered by one seed company. Grow it, save the seeds, and offer them in the Member Seed Directory next year.


How do we keep the Seed Catalogue Index up to date? Thank our amazing volunteers Diane Whitehead and Frances Thorn, who spend hours going through seed catalogues to collect this information, then spend more hours editing the lists for accuracy.


Sometimes scrolling through our Member Seed Directory can be overwhelming. There are so many seeds! But the majority of them are only grown by one or two people, so we need more seed savers to keep those varieties alive!

Seed companies also seem to have an amazing assortment of seeds, but 69% of those 8345 varieties are only available from one company each. It's way easier to find a rare variety than it should be!


What to Do With Your Saved Seeds

Besides offering them through Seeds of Diversity's seed exchange, you can help improve your local community's seed diversity by donating seeds to a local seed library, a community garden that saves seeds, or a Seedy Saturday/Sunday seed swap.

Since the variety you chose was a rare one, you might be the only person you know who has those seeds, so make sure other growers know how important and special they are. Encourage other seed savers to multiply them too, and use them as an incentive for gardeners to learn the simple techniques that they can use to save their own rare seeds for the next year. 

If every seed saver took up this one simple challenge, so many rare seeds would become instantly a lot more safe.


Back to April 2021 Newsletter

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