On a blustery, snowy, slushy day, when Old Man Winter decided to remind the city that we were still firmly in his grasp, Mack and I headed to an event optimistic about the forthcoming spring called Seedy Sunday.
This annual event was mentioned so often at the Food: Today, Tomorrow Together conference that my curiosity was beyond piqued. Having never grown anything in my life beyond those “life cycle” pots in the window of my elementary school portable, it was intriguing to me that passionate gardeners would gather together every year to exchange seeds and wax poetic about everything germination.
Walking into the Alberta Avenue Community Hall, we were greeted by a volunteer and table full of resources, including two guides advertising heritage variety seeds available for purchase (one of which is Heritage Harvest Seeds). The atmosphere inside the hall was lively and warm, and we immediately forgot about the wintry conditions outside. Information booths from a wide range of gardening-related organizations were present (City Farm, Community Garden Network, Edmonton Horticultural Society – celebrating its centennial this year!), along with Ron Berezan’s Urban Farmer (he was away delivering one of the three lectures organized for the day). Producers were also present, including Patti Milligan (aka Lola Canola) and Gwen Simpson of Inspired Market Gardens. Gwen is definitely doing her best to branch out her business, and in April is launching cooking and gardening classes at her site in Carvel.
USC Canada was also there, where I picked up a free poster illustrating the centres of food origin along with details about the dire situation of decreasing crop and livestock diversity. Some facts:
- 1 unique livestock breed disappears every month
- 90% of US fruit and vegetable varieties have disappeared in the last century
- 75% of India’s rice crop is planted with a dozen varieties. Once there were 30,000.
- 10 companies control more than 55% of the world’s seed market
(You can read more about this topic on the USC website.)
Of course, the main purpose of visiting Seedy Sunday was for the seeds. Jennifer from Edible Prairie mentioned the lack of seed vendors this year, but I wasn’t looking beyond herbs. As I am new to gardening in every sense of the word, I thought it best to start small with a modest container garden, so I didn’t miss the variety. I picked up a packet each of sweet basil and Italian parsley from Bedrock Seed Bank and will be heading to a hardware store to furnish the rest of my (hopefully) budding experiment. I must mention the $14 gift packs Bedrock was selling (containing six seed packets, containers, and starter soil) – I was so tempted to buy one just to have in my gift giving closet.
Shopping for seeds
Kudos to the ladies behind Seedy Sunday for organizing such a great event!