Seedy Sunday in Edmonton
All things seedy is taking place in Edmonton next Sunday March 18 with the annual Seedy Sunday event.
The idea of sharing heritage and heirloom seeds at local events was the brainchild of agronomist Sharon Rempel. Sharon had difficulty locating heritage cultivars for her research, and at the time there were global concerns about the difficulty in finding heritage varieties of vegetables, fruits, flowers and grains and the negative impact on world food security. So in the mid-1990s and for many years thereafter, backyard growers and a few commercial seed savers headed to Fort Edmonton Park every March to talk, swap and buy seed and indulge in comradeship of shared passion.
Protection of Seed and Seed Diversity
I’m not sure how far along the world has come in saving and protecting our seed since those early days. The protection of seed and seed diversity is still highly dependent upon a handful of grass root organizations to educate, encourage seed saving at the local level, and advocate to governments and international organizations like the FAO to create and protect seed banks.
As a home gardener I do my small part too. Each year I select a few crops to save. Last year it was Delinel bean, two pea varieties, and of course garlic. I’ve been saving garlic since 1992.
Finding Open Pollinated and Heirloom Seeds
You don’t have to go to a Seedy Saturday or Seedy Sunday to source open pollinated and heirloom seeds. Thanks to the work of people like Sharon Rempel, many seed growers emerged over the last twenty years to service this niche market.
What seed I don’t personally grow I purchase from Prairie Garden Seeds (now semi-retired) Jim Ternier and his daughter Rachelle. For the past 5 years Rachelle has been more involved with the work of growing, saving, and distributing seeds and is taking over the family seed collection and business… all the, while the seed growing operation back to the family farm near Cochin SK.
So if you’re planning to attend a Seedy event plan to spend the day. Do take in the lectures. Visit each and every stall/booth, you’ll be amazed what you learn. Be prepared to take home something a little different to try in the garden this year.