Seeds of Diversity and Everdale are very excited to announce our newest project! The Vegetable Seed Producers Network has the aim of organizing knowledgeable and skilled growers into a connected network of seed producers.
Building on the work of Seeds of Diversity's Canadian Seed Library, and Everdale's coordination of seed production trials through the Bauta Family Initiative on Canadian Seed Security, a coordinated network of seed producers is the next crucial step to building a strong domestic production system for vegetable seeds. The network will have two main functions:
- To produce vegetable and specialty crop seeds according to industry best practices, which will then be pooled for bulk-scale supply to vegetable farmers, gardeners, and other growers, and
- To ensure that our seed collection remains viable and of the highest quality possible, by continually supplying fresh seeds to replenish seed stocks as required.
The project aims to address the need for bulk scale production of vegetable and specialty crop seed in Canada. There is a strong demand for domestically produced seed, but most of the vegetable seed grown in Canada is sold in small packet sizes for gardeners. The next big step is to scale up production to provide farm-scale, bulk quantities.
As more growers gain proficiency in high-quality seed production, it is possible to pool their seeds to achieve larger quantities than any individual producers can currently harvest. As long as seed quality is consistently high, this consolidated seed will earn the trust of farm-scale purchasers, and help boost Canadian vegetable seed production at both wholesale and retail levels.
Throughout early 2015 we will be putting together a list of seed producers to be part of the first year of this project. Supported by Seeds of Diversity and Everdale, these seed producers will grow out a small number of popular seed varieties, which will be tested at the end of the season. High quality seed will be pooled together to provide bulk quantities for farm-scale and wholesale purchasers. Growers in the network will be offered training and experience in meeting industry standards and producing high quality seeds through workshops, field days, training and reference materials.
While Seeds of Diversity will collect a portion of the freshly grown seeds to replenish our Seed Library stocks, the network will be primarily grower-led, and seed producers will maintain control over what to do with the extra seeds they produce each season. We have been envisioning this project for a number of years, and believe it perfectly meshes with our mission to protect and preserve diversity in the Canadian food system.
On behalf of the Bauta Family Initiative on Canadian Seed Security, Seeds of Diversity’s Bob Wildfong and Paul Hrycyk will lead the project, and Aabir Dey of Everdale will coordinate workshops and training.
The success of this project will no doubt depend on the network of growers who are willing to work with us, and who recognize the importance and value of creating a new marketplace for regionally adapted seeds in farm-scale quantities.