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Back to February 2015 Newsletter

Time to celebrate seeds… good healthy seeds!

Genevieve Grossenbacher, USC Canada

As a farmer who has been involved in the food movement for the past 15 years, I am amazed at the speed the movement for healthy, local foods has grown. However, I cannot help but notice how one crucial element is often missing from the conversation. Seeds. Not just any seeds. Good seeds. 

While there is a growing awareness that seeds are the foundation of our food system, there has been very little attention paid to the fact that good healthy foods begin with good healthy seed. That’s where seedy people come in. USC Canada just launched a year-long campaign to give good seeds the recognition they deserve – and we need you to spread the word. 

Join with eight seed-saving Canadian musicians - Amy Millan, Leslie Feist, Sam Roberts, Jim Cuddy, Tim Baker, Ian Thornley, Tim Kingsbury and Bruce Cockburn – and be a part of USC Canada’s I Am A Seed Saver campaign. Celebrate the beauty, diversity and abundance of seeds.

“I believe it’s really important to protect seed diversity and I invite everyone to learn more about it,” says Arcade Fire’s Tim Kingsbury.

The willingness of these high profile musicians to help raise the profile of seeds has been very exciting for all of us at USC Canada.

“We want to make a big deal about seeds because these tiny packets of life are key to our food security,” explains Sheila Petzold, USC Canada’s Communications and Outreach Director. “And good seed is getting harder to find.”

Since the 1960s, there has been a major shift in the way we look at seeds. Large seed companies – 10 of which now control 73% of the global seed market - breed seeds for high yields, uniformity and  growth under controlled and optimal conditions. The result? Most vegetable seeds available to Canadian farmers are imported and are not bred for diversity, flavour or nutrition.

In the last 60 years, the average Canadian potato lost 100% of its vitamin A content, 57% of its vitamin C and 28% of its calcium. Genetic diversity within commercial seeds is decreasing, making these seeds less adapted to farmers’ fields and more susceptible to disease, pests and climate change. Without genetic diversity, varieties stand the chance of being wiped out completely if they come under threat.

“Maintaining diversity in seeds means we keep nutrition in our food,” singer-songwriter Leslie Feist explains in the campaign’s launch video.

By saving good seeds and celebrating farmers who are growing their crops from saved seed, we are supporting and encouraging a diverse, sustainable, nutritious, fair and adaptable food system.


Here’s how you too can celebrate seeds: 

1)     EAT. Speak with your stomach by supporting farmers who save and use diverse seeds.

2)     GROW. Grow food and challenge yourself to plant a variety of interesting seeds from local seed producers. Save seeds from your crop.

3)     LEARN. Find out more at

4)     JOIN THE CONVERSATION at #celebrateseeds #iamaseedsaver. And don't forget to follow us on Twitter and Instagram at @usccanada, and on Facebook at 

5)     SHARE. Please help us spread the word. Together, we will show as many people as possible why seeds are the underground heroes of the food movement!


Go to to watch a video about why the Canadian musicians above are standing up for seeds. Will you join them?


Back to February 2015 Newsletter

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