Seedy Saturday 2012: Gardening is Everyone’s Business

Eatmore Sprouts & Greens Ltd. is the Sustaining Sponsor of Seedy Saturday

Sow What Now? Seedy Saturday Can Help

Comox Valley February 20. On March 3rd, hundreds of people will gather to find everything they need to get their gardens growing. Seeds, education, expert advice, enthusiastic tips and support from groups, neighbours and strangers will be available to those itching to get soil under their nails – for the first time or the thousandth.

The generous support of local sponsors allowed the organizers to drop the admission price back to $5 and they believe you’ll receive so much inspiration from the day’s events; you’ll be planting by March 4th. A wonderful array of panelists and speakers are scheduled and, along with the dozens of knowledgeable vendors, associations and educators, the Seed Exchange and the social activities guarantee a day well spent.

Robin Tunnicliffe of Feisty Field Organic Farm and co-founder of Saanich Organics is the keynote speaker for 2012. Tunnicliffe has been farming certified organic vegetables near Victoria, BC for the past 12 years. She leases a total of 1.5 acres in two parcels, and makes her living selling vegetables to restaurants, grocery stores, farmers’ markets and through a vegetable home delivery program. Robin holds an MA in Food Policy from the University of Victoria. She serves on several boards of directors, including USC Canada, UBC Farm and The Islands Organic Producers’ Association. She has recently co-authored a book about her work with Saanich Organics called “All the Dirt: Reflections on Organic Farming” and will be describing how she and two other organic farmers set up a local small producer distribution network.

The popular Garden Panel will again answer questions from the audience about everything from building your soil, to propagation, to growing local and exotic varieties of fruits, vegetables, herbs and flowers and other gardening- related topics. The panel will include Megan Halstead (Halstead Farms), Connie Kuramato (Gardens to Go), Simon Toole (Good Earth Farms) and Jennifer Waller, an avid amateur gardener since she could walk, with a background in ethno-botany.

Other speakers include: Peter Janes, an orchardist and plant propagator from Denman Island. His brief 20 minute presentation will highlight some of the best practices and biggest hurdles in the cultivation of fruit and nut trees. He will also review some of the most successful and least appropriate edible perennials he’s observed in our bioregion in hopes of increasing the successes of local growers. Janes will be joined by Jonathon Schut of Budding Landscapes to describe backyard permaculture design.

Transition Town Comox Valley will host a panel of Project Leaders who will present interesting hands-on projects related to food security in the Comox Valley. These are opportunities for folks to get involved with others in exciting projects beyond their back yard. Lake Trail Neighbourhood Connections will help you get children involved in the garden. A full schedule of events is available. Vendor information will also be posted. The Comox Valley Growers and Seed Savers exist to conserve and preserve our local plant diversity by encouraging and supporting public participation in growing heritage and non-hybrid food crops and other plants.

CVGSS Newsletters pre-2012

[important]Below is an archive of the Society’s newsletters. Click on the link to view or download the newsletters in PDF Format:[/important]

Monsanto Expose

Review of the documentary “The World According to Monsanto: From dioxin to genetically modified crops. A multinational with your best interests at heart.”

A film by Marie-Monique Robin.

This film is a hard hitting look at Monsanto’s history and origins in the chemical industry through its transformation into a biotech agricultural company and, particularly relevant for this website, its efforts to stamp out traditional seeds and replace them with patented genetically engineered seeds. Continue reading

Principles of Free Seeds

In analogy with Richard M. Stallman’s principles of Free Software I am proposing the principles of Free Seeds:

1. Freedom to grow the seeds for any purpose.
2. Freedom to do research using the seeds.
3. Freedom to save seeds and redistribute them.
4. Freedom to breed new strains or otherwise modify the seeds and release them to the public.

In each case “freedom” means that, upon obtaining some seeds, there are no patents, copyrights,
or legal encumbrances of any kind to obstruct, and no permissions are necessary to exercise the
specified freedoms.

For comparison here are Stallman’s principles of Free Software.

1. The freedom to run the program, for any purpose.
2. The freedom to study how the program works, and change it to make it do what you wish. (Access to the source code is a precondition for this.)
3. The freedom to redistribute copies so you can help your neighbor.
4. The freedom to improve the program, and release your improvements (and modified versions in general) to the public, so that the whole community benefits. (Access to the source code is a precondition for this.)

Some observations are in order.

The “Free” in Free Seeds is used in the sense of freedom, as in free speech, free country, freedom
of association, and so on, and does not imply free in the sense of no cost.
Stallman (usually referred to as RMS) likes to use the phrase “free as in speech, not free as in beer”.
However usually in the case of Free software it is in fact free in the sense of free beer, but I doubt that
would normally be the case with Free seeds.