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.

Few things on Earth are as miraculous and vital as seeds. Worshipped and treasured since the dawn of humankind.

SEED: The Untold Story follows passionate seed keepers protecting our 12,000 year-old food legacy. In the last century, 94% of our seed varieties have disappeared. As biotech chemical companies control the majority of our seeds, farmers, scientists, lawyers, and indigenous seed keepers fight a David and Goliath battle to defend the future of our food. In a harrowing and heartening story, these reluctant heroes rekindle a lost connection to our most treasured resource and revive a culture connected to seeds. SEED features Vandana Shiva, Dr. Jane Goodall, Andrew Kimbrell, Winona Laduke and Raj Patel.

Part of the Films for Change series
Sponsored by TRU’s Office of Environment and Sustainability
A panel discussion to follow the screening | Admission by donation

Doors open at 6:30, film starts at 7 PM
TRU Alumni Theatre (Clocktower) | 900 McGill Road

Fermentation is a great way of preserving the harvest and producing your own nutritious snacks and condiments. Have you been wanting to get in on the fermentation trend, but just haven’t gotten around to it? Or maybe you’ve dabbled at fermenting, but want to try something different? Read more

** We have a jam-packed session planned for the November Network Meeting. Because of this, please be ready to start at 5:30 on the dot (the legendary potluck will start shortly after that) **
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Join us for our AGM on August 1. Following the meeting, we will savour our Legendary Potluck al fresco. Enjoy a stroll through the garden at your leisure and see the fantastic things going on at Gardengate. We look forward to seeing you there! Read more

One of the awesome things about a seed library is that it attracts  generous people who love to grow unusual fruit and vegetables. Ann-Marie Hunter is thrilled with the soybean varieties she’s been growing, and wanted to share them, so she contacted us about donating some to our library. Of course we said, “Yes, Please!”

CC photo by Jessica Lucia

We are also awaiting a donation of some kiwano (horned melon) seeds. I turns out they are not only beautiful to behold, but are packed with antioxidants and have a lot of health benefits.

Sharing seed is the best way to ensure that unusual or heirloom varieties continue to survive and thrive. The more people growing them, the better the chance they have. A small amount of seed can go a long way – the estimated return on a bean seed is 120/1!

For more information, check out the Seed Library page on our website or look for us this summer and fall at the Farmers Market and other local events.


Garden Tool Maintenance Workshop

Lawrence, our tool-sharpening guru, will help you get your garden tools in shape for gardening season and talk about how to care for them so they will last longer and work better. Read more

Citizen Science is a way of engaging the general public with and democratizing science. What makes citizen science dependable is the training and the following of protocols.

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Community Seed Libraries are cropping up everywhere and we are very excited to be starting one here in Kamloops! Seed libraries can have many benefits to the community, including:

  • protecting genetic diversity
  • helping develop locally-adapted plant varieties
  • promoting self-reliance and public access to seed
  • contributing to public education about seed saving and the importance of biodiversity

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Would you like to grow more of your own food? It’s easy with layer mulching (aka lasagna gardening). Join us to get some practice with this simple, cost-effective method for converting lawn (or bare ground) into a productive veggie garden or mini food forest. This is a hands-on workshop so come prepared to work and get dirty!  Read more