Last weekend, I had the pleasure of attending the BC Seed Gathering at Kwantlen Polytechnic University (KPU) in Richmond, BC. This bi-annual gathering brings together members of the BC EcoSeed Co-op, Seedy Saturday/Sunday and community seed library organizers, as well as students from KPU’s Sustainable Agriculture Program to network, learn more about growing and saving seed, and get inspired from each other’s work.
And inspiring it was! From the opening address by our Minister of Agriculture, Lana Popham, to the carrot-tasting and judging, there was plenty of passion and cause for celebration. Ms. Popham told us she would like to rename her Ministry the “Ministry of Agriculture, Fish, and Food Systems” – which sends a clear message that she understands and values the interconnectedness of ecosystems. It is also reassuring to learn that she co-founded the first certified organic vineyard on Vancouver Island and has been a longtime advocate for vineyard workers and food producers.
Other sources of inspiration were the many organic growers who can talk for hours about different kinds of beans or squash, and the energetic instructors from KPU’s Sustainable Ag program, who gave us a tour of their teaching farm near the KPU campus, including moveable “high tunnel” greenhouses, a geodesic dome, and their mobile seed-cleaning trailer, which just happened to be getting prepared for a trip to the Shuswap to help clean a massive amount of industrial hemp seed for Green Future Industries in Chase.
As the organizer of the Kamloops Community Seed Library, I was excited to meet other seed library organizers and chat about how they operate. The Kwantlen Seed Library is housed in several “antique” card catalogue boxes, which the organizer was lucky enough to find at an estate sale. They are ideal for storing and displaying seed collections and we at the KFPC would love to get our hands on something similar. If anyone ever comes across old card catalogue boxes or cabinets, please let us know!
The vision of the Kamloops Food Policy Council is a food system that is regenerative, sovereign, and just, and it is reassuring to know that so many knowledgeable, committed people in our province are working towards that same goal. I look forward to the next gathering in 2021, to reconnect, and see what new innovations have developed in the world of seed.