Growing seeds for food security in the Boundary
Food security has become an increasingly common topic in the news and in conversations over the last five years. Locally, people have gotten behind the new agriculture projects such as the community gardens, Kettle Valley Food Co-op and the Boundary Seed Bank. The Boundary Seed Bank is starting into its second year with hopes to get more growers on board to increase their stock, and to help achieve their vision.
“Looking at our first year, we made a great start,” said Anisah Madden, one of the coordinators for the project. “We had about 10 growers who took seed bank seed and grew them out to add to the original volume. We also have a stash of seeds in a bank.”
The ‘bank’ is currently under the care of Madden who is working on a database to catalogue the seeds. Some of these seeds are local, while many are donations from Dan Jason of the Salt Spring Seed Sanctuary. The seeds still need to be tested for viability and grown to determine their suitability for this area.
Madden said that the bank is planning their growing year right now and are hoping to grow and bank a genetic diversity of local varieties of seed, increase their volume of seeds in their bank to offer a safety net for local food security, and manage the database registry. They are also working with the community gardens group, and the food co-op to see if there are ways to build on the seed bank, as well as looking into hosting workshops on the ‘how-tos’ of saving seed.
“We’d really like to get more growers on board to increase the number of seeds we have,” said Madden, “and we’d like to assign some specific research growers to test the viability of the current supply.”
Madden said that the seed producers (or custodians) could take on growing small volumes for research, large volumes for food and seed, and that growers could even just be doing it in their backyard or in pots. The Seed Bank welcomes growers, people interested in helping with organizing the bank, a database manager, and bloggers / writers to get the word out, write grants, and create a reference library for seed saving.
Do you have something to offer the Seed Bank as it enters its second year? Come out to the Seed Bank’s seed exchange on Saturday, Mar. 13 at Selkirk College from 10:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. or contact Madden at 250-443-4989. The Boundary Seed Bank is a project of the Grand Forks and Boundary Regional Agricultural Society.