B.C.'s first Virtual Seedy Saturday Conference sprouts up from February 19 to 21.
The conference will include sessions on seed saving and gardening, seed vendors, and community breakout discussions, including with Squamish CAN.
In 2020, Squamish CAN's annual Seedy Saturday, set for Brennan Park in March, was cancelled at the last minute due to the pandemic.
This year, the local organization is taking part in the FarmFolk CityFolk-organized virtual conference.
The beauty of this conference, which various Seedy Saturday organizations are collaboratively hosting, is that there is so much to learn, according to Marie-Ève Trigg, Squamish CAN's Seed Library manager.
Examples of events include question and answer periods with master gardeners, expert speakers, poetry readings, a silent auction, and more.
"There are resources from B.C. seed companies that grow their own organic and non-GMO seeds, so where to get those seeds. We are all familiar with west coast seeds, but there are so many more amazing companies out there that grow things that maybe [another] company doesn't even have, so it is great knowledge and backup of where to get all these other seeds from," she said.
Trigg said the goal of the conference is to strengthen and celebrate the province's seed security.
"It is delivering seed security and gardening information to seed enthusiasts," she said.
Communities can arrange to swap seeds too.
"Seed saving and seed swapping have a history that goes back thousands of years. It is a practice that in a way fell victim to [the] modernized world, and so those seeds that we see in grocery stores, they are not all bad, but they are in the hands of a few [major companies].... We should have the power to grow our seeds and save our seeds," said Trigg, adding that much attention is rightly paid to saving animal species. That same concern and dedication are needed to preserve and enhance types of organic seeds, she said.
“Buying from local seed companies, you are supporting our local and circular economy, preserving biodiversity — more than 90% of vegetable seed varieties were lost in the last decades, due to the consolidation of seeds by only a few powerful entities — and keeping the power in everyone's hands, not just a few corporate hands. No one owns nature or should be allowed to patent it.”
On top of all that, seeds make for an enjoyable and educational hobby, she said.
“Saving and planting seeds, all politics aside, is an incredibly fascinating and also rewarding thing to do. To observe and take part in the full cycle of a plant, from seed to seed, which seems so simple but is yet so complex, is to witness a fundamental part of our existence, and it's fun!”
For more information on the conference, go to www.bcseeds.org
While the Seed Library in the Squamish Public Library was not available for a time during the pandemic's early weeks, it is back up and running.
It includes a collection of donated vegetable, flower, and herb seeds for community members to take and swap.
A $5 annual fee is charged to belong to the Seed Library.
Trigg says soon, a sign-up form will be available on the Squamish CAN website.
She will also be giving a rundown of how the library works during the Virtual Seedy Saturday Conference.
For more on the Seedy Library, go to www.squamishcan.net.
What if you want to start growing things now?
Trigg says it is too early for many plants and flowers, but there are some that Squamish residents can start growing now.
"Things I am growing right now are thyme, sage, lavender, rosemary, oregano — those woody, more perennial herbs need a very early start if you want to start them from seeds. Peppers, if you plan on growing peppers... they need a very long, warm season to grow,. So starting them early and putting them out, when they are more mature will allow you to have peppers on your plant."
Trigg said certain flowers also benefit from an early start, such as milkweed.