By Samantha Loo, Village Vancouver assistant seed librarian and Ross Moster, Village Vancouver executive director
Happy new year! Now that 2022 is upon us, it’s a great time to start sourcing non-genetically modified seeds for your garden. You can acquire seeds many different ways, such as saving your own seeds, requesting free seeds from seed libraries and by purchasing seeds at Seedy Saturday’s/Sunday’s, from gardening centres and from local seed growers and companies. Here’s a quick tour of some of our local seed sources in Vancouver:
Village Vancouver Community Seed Libraries and other seed resources
As part of our Community Food Resilience Program, Village Vancouver offers free and low cost seed saving workshops, occasional seed saver gatherings and opportunities and tips for seed saving. We maintain community seed libraries at various community centres, public library branches, neighbourhood houses and other locations around Vancouver, e.g., MLA David Eby’s office, and British Columbia, often in collaboration with other community groups, including other Vancouver neighbourhood food networks.
For a current list of available seeds and seed library locations, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Cedar Cottage Food Network Seed Library
Cedar Cottage Food Network maintains a seed library at VPL’s Kensington branch.
Seedy Saturdays and Sundays
Seedy Saturdays are a series of separate events spread out across Canada. They’re a great way to meet like-minded gardeners, participate in workshops and swap or purchase seeds. They offer a range of workshops on topics such as plant biodiversity, heritage and organic gardening, along with seed saving.
Local gardening centres are a great way to find a variety of seeds.
West Coast Seeds
Operating in Ladner, BC, West Coast Seeds offers an amazing range of untreated non-GMO, non-GEO, open pollinated (OP), hybrid (F1), heritage and organic seeds that meet the needs of everyone from home gardeners to large-scale farmers. In addition to seeds, they also offer gardening tips, recipes and much more.
You can find their 2022 seed catalogue here: drive.google.com/file/d/1FHQKaLq5thqiSeCYtxsE6w2naeboY1XW/view
Salt Spring Seeds
Salt Spring Seeds was born out of a commitment to empower people to grow their own food and save their seeds. They specialize in heritage and heirloom open-pollinated, non-GMO seeds. In addition to seeds, they offer information about various plants and tips for seed saving.
BC Eco Seed Co-op
BC Eco Seed Co-op was started by local seed growers with the goal to create a sustainable local food system built on ecologically friendly seeds in BC. The Seed Co-op provides certified organic, open pollinated, GMO-free, BC-grown vegetable, herb, flower and grain seeds.
2022 stock list: www.bcecoseedcoop.com/pages/stockists
BC Eco Seed Co-op members: www.bcecoseedcoop.com/pages/current-members
VanDusen Seed Collectors
The VanDusen Seed Collectors store is stocked with rare and unusual seeds collected from the VanDusen Botanical Garden. The seeds that are offered contribute to conserving plant biodiversity and promoting environmental sustainability. They also host a large Seedy Saturday annually on the last Saturday in February. It showcases all the seeds that their seed collectors have collected, cleaned and packaged, as well as many other seed and plant vendors, workshops and food.
Cowichan Green Community
The Seed Project by Cowichan Farm Hub is run by the Cowichan Green Community in Duncan, BC. It was launched to increase the availability of certified organic seeds that are specially adapted to their ecosystems on the west coast. They offer certified organic, open-pollinated local seeds from legumes, greens, vegetables and flowers.
FarmFolk CityFolk is the largest agricultural non-profit in BC. They work with farmers to protect biodiversity and mitigate climate change in the Canadian agricultural industry. To raise awareness about BC’s food system resilience, they have a seed saving program that supports and encourages home gardeners to participate in seed saving. While they don’t sell seeds, they do offer workshops, events and tips on how to save seeds. In addition, local gardeners are able to participate in their seed trials.