I arrived at Sahali Mall at 9:15 on Saturday morning, Food Policy Council display board in hand, to a lineup of almost 30 people waiting outside the large room housing Seedy Saturday. Seedy Saturday is an annual event held in late winter to facilitate a seed exchange between growers just as they are preparing to plant the spring’s fresh garden, and I was looking forward to attending my very first one. Now don’t get me wrong, this year’s event was far from being Kamloops‘ first Seedy Saturday. The event, organized this year by the Thompson Shuswap Master Gardeners and Friends of the New Victory Garden, was first brought to Canadians by Seeds of Diversity Canada (www.seeds.ca) in 1989. It has been since popularized all across the country and has been serving the needs of growers in Kamloops since 1995. Since then, and especially in recent years, the Kamloops event has been growing like crazy in popularity — hence, the line-up of attendees building up for half an hour before the doors were opened on Saturday morning.
As I entered the room, I found myself in a dreamland for gardeners and foodies in general. The wide open space was packed full of tables offering baked goods, honey, preserves, information and displays about growing and planting, and of course, a HUGE variety of seeds. And perhaps best of all, the room was full of enthusiastic people who are involved with growing or producing food right here in the Kamloops region. I talked to many people standing by their fascinating displays or tables full of intriguing seed packets or delicious treats.
Event volunteers offered things like a kids’ area where families could come and build their own sprouters, and hand-outs featuring a complete list of seed varieties owned by Monsanto for those wishing to avoid such seed varieties. (For those wishing to see this list and put it to good use, click HERE to have a look!)
Maggie Christie of the Thompson Shuswap Master Gardeners is working on gathering and sharing information about the canning industry in Kamloops’ history. If you have knowledge, experiences, photos or artefacts to share with Maggie and those who will benefit from her project, please contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 250-828-1934. Thank you!!
Erin Edwards, a Kamloops Food Policy Council member, created a beautiful and very intriguing display all about Goji Berries. I stopped by and Erin told me all about how a variety of the berry (widely publicized as one of the more recent ‘superfoods’) grows right here in Kamloops near the Chinese cemetery, so it may have been the first seed ever to have been ‘shared’ in Kamloops by Asian immigrants. Erin was also full of all kinds of cool knowledge about the growth and history of the city and its Asian population dating back to many years ago. Thanks Erin!
Elizabeth DeVries of KamloopsParents.com, along with volunteers, was running a kids’ area at the event. Sponsored by Simply Computing, Purity Feed, Nature’s Fare, and Mumm’s sprouting seeds, the crew at the kids’ area had a great time helping families decorate and build their own sprouters to take home.
Our co-chair Laura Kalina stands with Elaine Sedgman of the Thompson Shuswap Master Gardeners (and KFPC!) at Elaine’s booth where she shared her vast knowledge about planting for pollinators. (To hear both Laura and Elaine give talks about Kamloops and Public Produce, join us on Thursday March 1st at our Annual General Meeting.. More info here!)
All in all, my first-ever Seedy Saturday experience was one of an extremely successful event that never saw a dull moment. The energy and enthusiasm for local food production filled the room, charged the atmosphere, and proved that Kamloops’ food production community is blooming, blossoming, growing and thriving as much as all of our gardens will be, come the warm spring weather.