Seedy Saturday heralds season

There’s no better place to get started than the annual Seedy Saturday event in Grand Forks.

Last summer Sheila Dobie hosted a Grand Forks and Boundary Regional Agricultural Society seed saving workshop at Spencer Hill Farm with Jon Alcock of Sunshine Farms in Kelowna. They demonstrated the seed winnower GFBRAS has available for loan.

For gardeners, March brings with it a feeling of hope and anticipation because the growing season is about to officially begin.

There’s nothing like getting your hands around some promising seed packets and there’s no better place to get started than the annual Seedy Saturday event in Grand Forks.

This year it is on Saturday, March 19 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Holy Trinity Anglican Church located at 7252 Seventh Street.

The popular event includes the opportunity to share seeds you’ve harvested yourself, pick up some new seeds from fellow gardeners, purchase seed from vendors, learn more about Grand Forks and Boundary Regional Agricultural Society (GFBRAS), enjoy a homemade lunch and to talk worms.

“I will be there with my wayward worms,” confirmed Lorraine Dick, GFBRAS member.

For the past few years Dick has been demonstrating and discussing vermiculture—or the use of worms to create compost.

This year she will be available to talk about her favourite gastropod and what a few thousand of them can do to improve the quality of your garden soil.

There will also be plants for sale and a place to sign up for your plot in the community garden.

For those interested in contributing or becoming a seed custodian for the Boundary Seed Bank Project, there will be information and people on hand. The Seed Bank, which was started five years ago, now holds more than 40 varieties of vegetables, grains and beans that are acclimatized and historically significant to our region.

If you are bringing in seeds to exchange, please make sure the seeds are packaged and labeled with the name and date the seeds were harvested.

For those who can’t make it to the event, you can find free seeds at the Grand Forks and District Public Library where there is a Seed Library.

Join the new Seed Saving Learning Group

Want to learn how to save your own seeds?

Sheila Dobie, GFBRAS liaison, is looking for six to eight people who can dedicate some volunteer hours over the growing season to learn how to produce and save their own seeds from start to finish.

The Seed Saving Learning Group will meet twice a month over the growing season, starting with planting at the Community Garden plots, Learning Garden project, two additional sites in Grand Forks and one in Midway in May and June.

Participants will need to commit to at least three of the eight work parties scheduled between May and September. Those who commit to the entire season may be eligible for a stipend.

The group will be planting beans, beets, squash, lettuce, kale, spinach, potato, amaranth, mustard and assorted other varieties. During the work parties they will be planting, mulching, monitoring the crops, documenting the progress, staking, weeding, thinning and rogueing for specific qualities. The season will end with harvesting, drying, cleaning and storing the seeds properly.

There will also be an additional participatory plant-breeding project with potatoes.

Dobie, who recently returned from the Organic Seed Alliance Conference in Oregon, is enthused about the new project. She and more than 500 other participants attended the event in February where she rubbed elbows with more than 80 leaders in open pollinated seeds production and preservation.

“I think it was the humbling, and at the same time an inspiring realization, that we can in our own small way be activists in this movement,” Dobie said. “We with our Seed Bank project are on the right track to ensure the resilience of our local food system and a player for what is possible—and necessary—for the world. It placed our wee project is such a majestic context—it was breathtaking!”

She said seeds are as much about food production as they are about cultural legacy.

“In the seed history, ancestory and technology converge,” she said.

Funding for the Seed Saving Learning Group was provided by The Bauta Family Initiative on Canadian Seed Security, a project of USC Canada delivered in partnership with Seeds of Diversity Canada and supported by The W. Garfield Weston Foundation. For more information visit www.usc-canada.org and www.seeds.ca. For more information about the Seed Saving Learning Group contact Sheila at boundaryfarms@gmail.com. Dobie expects to have her first meeting in April.