Sunday, September 20, 2009

Seed Saving Workshop

The executive director from Seeds of Diversity (Canada's heritage seed saving non-profit organization) was here yesterday to lead his seed saving workshop. It was a well attended session, with 25-30 people here, and the weather was perfect! We had anticipated a crowd, and in addition to chairs and a long bench had also set out strawbales to sit on. The bales always help to make it feel more like a farm here! He had lots of seed saving techniques to show (in particular his collection of sieves of various sizes in which to winnow the small seeds), talked about pollination, how and when to gather or dry the seeds, and about the organization's exciting member-based nationwide seed savers exchange.

There were lots of seeds to take home, including Jacob's Cattle Beans, Mennonite Orange tomatoes (a local heirloom), Persistance swiss chard, and a red tipped winter hardy lettuce variety. The donations raised at the workshop went toward the "adoption" of a heritage variety of brown (purplish) tomato - by raising $250 Seeds of Diversity can preserve a heritage variety in perpetuity in their seed bank. We also spent some time walking through our garden with Bob pointing out various kinds of seeds (in our garden currently lettuce, beans, chard, various flowers, basil and many other herbs are being let go to seed for collection purposes). He also pointed out native species of bees, good pollinators and welcome in the garden, which can be identified by their green heads.

We were very happy to see such interest in seed saving, a vital skill to have for building urban food security (and as we know from the rise in GMO and terminator variety seeds, access and ability to save your own garden seeds is not something to be taken for granted).

Seeds of Diversity -

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