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Back to September 2014 Newsletter

Bauta Initiative Profile: Kingston Area Seed System Initiative

It’s tough to keep up with all the activities going on at the Kingston Area Seed System Initiative, or KASSI, as they continue to raise awareness about the state of seed security in Canada, work to educate the public and create more public access to heirloom vegetable seeds.

KASSI’s mandate – which includes building their public presence, increasing the availability of heirloom seed, establishing a backup storage location for their saved seeds, and facilitating seed cleaning practices – has led to some very exciting activities taking place throughout 2014. Their website is packed with information and educational materials outlining their projects, and provides resources to save your own seed, and even displays a layout for a seed garden. They’ve hosted presentations and participated in their local Seedy Saturday event which drew in over 350 attendees. Their work to increase public access to seeds has resulted in the creation of three new seed gardens and a program offering inexperienced gardeners an opportunity to be mentored. To protect the valuable genetic diversity of the seeds in their collection, KASSI arranged for a secondary offsite storage location to backup many of the varieties which were currently all being held in one place. Funds provided by the Bauta Family Initiative made this backup possible. As their seed library continues to grow, it will be a valuable resource in ensuring the long-term protection of these rare seeds.

Beginning in September 2014, KASSI is working with two local high-school shop teachers challenging their students to build an air column seed separator to clean seeds stored in their library. This type of fantastic community involvement is another great way to reach out and educate and engage younger generations in the work of producing and saving Canadian seed supplies.

On September 11th, KASSI held a workshop called Seeds in the Market Garden for growers interested in how seed production can be incorporated into market gardening. Board Member Cate Henderson said, “our seed event for Eastern Ontario began with a guided meditation, calling us to remember the generosity, kindness and abundance of our seed plants, and to deepen that relationship in mutual respect.  We then enjoyed a tour of the Heirloom Seed Sanctuary and a beautiful presentation by the Kingston Area Seed System Initiative (KASSI), both of which organizations build on this key foundation of mutual respect and kindness.”

The work being done at KASSI and all the other seed libraries popping up across Canada is a step in the direction towards a more sustainable and open food system. Having greater public access to seeds and expanding the selection of seeds we can choose to grow is a goal we continue to work towards, and projects like KASSI remind us that we are already well on the way.  


Photo above: Anne Graham, volunteer, harvesting tomatoes at Oak St. plot, Aug 2014. 


Back to September 2014 Newsletter

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