The slightly drizzling, cloudy day did not stop New West gardeners to come together and share seeds. From 12-2:30 on February 19th we gathered to celebrate New Westminster’s very first Seedy Saturday.
We started setting up around 11, my lovely volunteers Henrik and Lizz helped me put up signs and set up tables. Lizzie’s parents also swung with helping hands to put up a tent for our Seed Saving presentation. As soon as the clock struck twelve, folks were wandering in to check out the display of seeds. We would like to thank Glorious Organics, Seeds of Diversity Canada and FarmFolk CityFolk for many of the seed donations, as well as our grantors Youth Neighbourhood Small grants who made it possible for us to expand the number of seed varieties available. I’d also like to thank BC Eco Seed Co-op for all the seed packets, they were perfect for decorating and super useful for seed sharing!
Reflecting on the event, it’s amazing to think how it was the result of multiple years hard work seed saving. I was able to share some seeds I had saved two years ago and some from the previous season. We even had Orach seeds from 2013! While some may consider this lost potential as the germination could be pretty low, I think it’s pretty incredible these seeds are getting another chance to regrow, complete the life cycle, and provide more seeds. One lovely human shared seeds from that their recently deceased mother had saved, her legacy will live on with the gardening joys of her seed saving efforts.
What really blew me away about the event was the communities generosity, so many lovely people brought seeds to share and everyone walked away with exciting new seeds to try and even some new garden supplies. We did a dot survey and found we had a pretty go mix of new comers and seasoned seed savers. It makes me happy that even folks new to seed saving came out to support the New Westminster Seedy Saturday on a cloudy day – we welcome you with seeds and open arms!
We had a few kids stroll through and try out our seed games and do some colouring. My friends drew on a couple packets and I plan to cherish their art. I love the intersection of art and science in the seed saving world. I remember at the start of a Plant Breeding course I took in university, one of my professors was adamant that there is an art to plant breeding and seed saving – I full heartedly agree. I’ve been really enjoying exploring the culture and stories behind seeds as well as learning the science of good seed saving practices. During my seed saving presentation I shared the story of the ‘Who Gets Kissed’ Corn variety which got it’s name from an old tradition where if someone found a red kernel while husking the corn they could select someone in the room to kiss – it’s a bit silly but fun and memorable, makes you want to find a red kernel! It also goes to show that aiming for a completely uniform plant population limits you’re ability to explore different genetics and characteristics within that variety. This is why I like to promote heirloom and open pollinated plant varieties that have a free flow of pollen and thus more flexible populations compared to hybrid varieties.
I’m looking forward to growing the New Westminster Seedy Saturday with all of you. It was such a treat to meet like minded folks in my community and share seeds with you all. It’s refreshing to have a non-commercial event where we can excited to share our seeds and gardening passions. Once again thank you to the Youth Neighbourhood Small Grant for funding this event. See you all next year! I’d love to keep in touch, feel free to reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org.