Members and Volunteers

We are a group of seed savers from coast to coast who protect Canada's seed biodiversity by growing it ourselves and sharing it with others. Every year, we multiply the most vulnerable seed varieties that we can, exchange seeds with each other, and keep those varieties alive and in cultivation for future gardeners to enjoy.

We are a membership organization with over 1000 members across Canada that make Seeds of Diversity a vibrant and visible part of the gardening and food security scene. Our funding primarily comes from charitable donations made by both members and non-members. [Become a member]

Besides multiplying rare seeds, we volunteer at over 150 Seedy Saturday and Seedy Sunday events across Canada, write articles for our popular magazine and monthly email bulletin, package seeds for community seed libraries, and help beginner seed savers learn the easy techniques for growing good seeds.

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Board of Directors

Our Board of Directors is made up of volunteers, elected by our membership, who guide Seeds of Diversity's vision and oversee the work of our staff. We value contributions from members in all regions of Canada, from diverse backgrounds, who offer experience in non-profit governance and community leadership.

Kristine O’Brien, Chair

 

Currently the Executive Director at Crieff Hills Retreat Centre near Guelph, ON www.crieffhills.com

I have a fair bit of charitable and non profit leadership experience through the Presbyterian Church in Canada and related organizations. I’m a gardener and have been growing vegetables for years in a few different locations. I do some seed saving and love Seedy Saturday events although I am by no means at an expert level. I have served in formal and formal board settings and am comfortable in either one.

Zoe Arnold, Director

Zoe lives on Treaty Six Territory in Saskatoon, SK. She is a qualified teacher and outdoor education specialist. She holds an honours degree in Biology, a B.Ed., and a certificate in Forest School Education from the UK. She helped launch the Saskatoon Seed Exchange in 2020 through the Saskatoon Public Library and has helped organize three of Saskatoon's Seedy Saturday events. Zoe has worked with organizations specializing in conservation, urban agriculture, outdoor education, and environmental initiatives. She has been involved in urban agriculture and developing greenspaces as gardens in Saskatoon. She currently spends the majority of her time teaching children and youth outdoors on a variety of topics.  She can usually be found outdoors in all seasons enjoying gardening, hiking, and cross country skiing.

Zoe joined the board in 2018, and represents the prairies from her home province of Saskatchewan.

Valerie Gabriel, Director

Valerie Karonhiatakwen Gabriel is a Kanien’kehá:ka of Kanehsatake, and the owner of Nations Garlic Farm and Tall Tree Learning Center, a small-scale garlic permaculture farm and environmental and agricultural education center for Kanien’kehá:ka youth.

She is an environmental and agricultural consultant currently working with TerraHumana Solutions as well as the Kanehsatake Ratihontsanonhstats Environment Center. Valerie participated in the UN COP13 and has been part of the Indigenous Women's Biodiversity Network since 2017. She serves on the advisory committee for the Food, Environment, Health and Nutrition of First Nations Children and Youth (FEHNCY) in Kanehsatake. She has a degree as an environmental technologist from Vanier College and is now conducting a bachelor’s degree at Concordia University in Human Environment.

Valerie joined our board in 2020.

Rebecca Ivanoff, Director

Seed Program Manager, Ecological Farmers Association of Ontario.

Ontario staff member of Bauta Family Initiative on Canadian Seed Security.

Seed grower, participatory plant breeder, educator.

Wendy Sauvé, Director

 

Organizing member of Edmonton Seedy Sunday since 2007. We also moved to online presentations in 2020 and 2021 (with support - thank-you - from Seeds of Diversity). We are planning Edmonton Seedy Sunday 2022 now.

Committee to start up a seed library at the Edmonton Public Library.

I have just stepped down from the board of the national charity, Canadian Association for Porphyria after starting up the organization and serving as its president since 2014. I recently revised this organization's bylaws.

I am currently serving as membership chair for my local neighbourhood organization-the North Glenora Community League.

Love of gardening and some easey-peasy seed saving experience.

Shelley Spruit, Director

 

Farmer and seed grower at Against the Grain Farm. Participatory plant breeding, seed education, heritage grains.

Faye Bontje, Director

 

Currently owns and runs Stormhaven Farm and Studio, a seed and wild blueberry farm in Seacow Pond, PEI with her partner Daisy. 

Background in Organizational Development, Non-profit Executive Management, Occupational Learning Design and Strategic Planning. 

Pauline Ripat, Director

 

University academic, treasurer of The Classical Association of Canada, gardener, seed library keeper.

Susan Ladner, Director

 

Seed company owner, seed conservator, web site, online marketing, digital business experience.

Kate Veinot, Director

 

Community Gardening Coordinator at Just Food, Ottawa Seedy Saturday, Ottawa Seed Library, workshop leader.

Susan Carey, Director

 

Co-founder of the Guelph Tool Library, coordinator of the Guelph Seed Library, board experience in local arts, transit, and food resiliency agencies.

Katlynn Sverko, Director

 

10+ years in the non-profit sector, entrepreneur, screenwriter, specialist in accessibility design, Director of Research at the Diversity Institute.

Patricia McKinnon-Coco, Director

 

Edmonton Seedy Saturday organizer, located at the Edmonton Urban Farm, community and school gardener.

Edem Amegbo, Director

 

Agriculteur maraîcher, producteur des semences. Market garden farmer, seed producer.

Staff

Bob Wildfong, Executive Director

Bob has been saving seeds and teaching about garden biodiversity for over 30 years. He mixes science and storytelling to reveal the secret lives of seeds, plants, and pollinators. Bob has been a member of Seeds of Diversity since 1988, and became our first Executive Director in 2002, after a career in software engineering. He teaches garden and food history at the Waterloo Region Museum, and as a board member of the Pollinator Partnership Canada helps build the movement to preserve pollinators. He is a past president of the Culinary Historians of Canada, and delights in explaining how we can learn about future food sustainability by remembering past lessons.

Angie Koch, Seed Library Coordinator

Angie is a local, organic vegetable farmer and educator. When she is not out in the fields at her farm near Waterloo, ON, Angie manages the collection of seeds stored on site and works, coordinates our volunteer grow-outs, and works with other seed libraries to establish protocols and provide training materials for the storage and record keeping of seeds in their collections. Angie is also proud to be the first Canadian farmer to certify herself under the Bee-Friendly Farmer program in 2012!

Christine SlobodaOffice Administrator

Christine volunteered in our office for many years, and joined our staff in 2019.  When you email our office to inquire about membership, donations, Seedy Saturdays, or a hundred other things, Christine will be there to help you.

Allison Eady, Research and Evaluation Lead - Youth in Food Systems

Allison joined us in 2019 to help grow our School Food Gardens program, but her vision for the project dates back to her original research that started it.

Rayna Almas, Program Manager - Youth in Food Systems; Media Coordinator 

Rayna joined our team in 2019 to help grow our School Food Gardens program. She has since become the lead of Youth in Food Systems and has taken on the role of Media Coordinator in addition to supporting Seedy Saturday efforts. She has a degree in Child, Youth, and Family from the University of Guelph and has completed specialized coursework in Psychology, Food Security & Urban Agriculture, and Business Administration.