Grow your seed knowledge while saving on the grocery bill

Seed exchanges growing in popularity

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By Meharwaan Manak

Seed exchange events — critical in helping gardeners and farmers grow vegetables and perpetuate the seed supply — have experienced a huge uptick since the pandemic.

The events help expand their knowledge on producing veggies and add to the seed supply as people continue to grow and harvest their produce.

A 2022 Dalhousie University Faculty of Agriculture report suggests more than a million households in Canada intended to garden for the first time in 2022.

Seedy Saturdays” are events throughout the Lower Mainland promoting the exchange of seeds. They help to educate the public about seed saving and environmentally responsible gardening practices.

“These type of gardening events are really important because it gets all people, whether they’re new or experienced gardeners to figure out exactly how they want to grow food,” said Amanda Smith of Langley Environmental Partners Society.

With the rising cost of food, people are happy to talk about and engage in “doing more home gardens, whether it’s on the balcony or in the backyard,” Smith said.

“Gardening used to be therapy but it’s actually turning into something a bit more substantial.”

Local seed companies saw their sales balloon up significantly after COVID-19, according to David Catzel, BC Seed Security program manager at Farm Folk City Folk.

“Searches on Google for things like home gardening,” also increased he said. “We think there are a lot more gardeners now.”

Many companies stopped shipping seeds during COVID and after last year’s flooding as well as unpredictable crops “farmers became fairly desperate for seeds,” said Catzel.

“The more people we have growing seeds the more secure that system is,” he said.

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