A Dash of Diversity Makes Gardening (and eating) More Fun!

As the saying goes – spring is just around the corner, and there’s something in the air that makes me want to get out my seed packages and a bag of soil and plant something!

In the 1980’s, when I started gardening, shopping for seeds and plants was not nearly as interesting as it is today. Tomato hybrids like Better Boy and Early Girl were at the height of popularity and there were usually only 5-6 varieties of tomato plants available at garden centres. The choices in other vegetables were even more limited. With a resurgence of interest in open-pollinated and heirloom vegetables, shopping for plants or seeds today is becoming so much more exciting! Tomatoes and most other vegetables come in every size, shape and colour, and the flavours are just as varied. Purple potatoes, watermelon radishes, lemon cucumbers?! The hardest thing is not going home with many more seeds or plants than you need.

Still, we apparently have nowhere near the abundant choices that we once had. It’s estimated that over the last century, something like 90% of our seed biodiversity has been lost as large seed companies took over ownership of seed stocks and let unusual varieties dwindle in favour of the most popular commercial varieties. The National Geographic infographic below, illustrates the scope of the problem.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

To get some insight into this issue, join us on Wednesday, February 27 at the TRU Alumni Theatre for a screening of SEED: The Untold Story. It’s a beautifully crafted and visually stunning documentary following some of the world’s most passionate and dedicated seed savers as they battle to preserve some unique and valuable seed varieties. It’s both an inspiring story and a call to action. Following the movie, we will have a panel discussion and Q&A with some local seed champions to help us learn what we can do to help save our remaining food biodiversity. Show time is 7pm – doors open at 6:30. Admission is by donation. There will be popcorn available as well as a surprise treat from our Social Enterprise Project! Please bring your own water bottle.

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