Comox Valley Growers and Seed Savers

Our mission is 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.

Board of Directors

Chairperson: Jenny Gohl

Comes from a family of gardeners. Her father was Director of Parks and Forests in Cape Town, South Africa and from him she learned about indigenous plants and vegetable gardening. She is a retired physical therapist with much knowledge about the body mechanics involved in gardening and how to prevent back strain.
With the ideals of local and seasonal she tries to grow as much of her own food as possibe, experimenting with various crops and methods of isolating seeds for saving in a small space.
She is coordinator of Seedy Saturday and the Seed exchange.

Vice Chair:  Sylvain Alie

Grew up in Eastern Canada and spent many hours helping Mom and Dad prepare weed and harvest the family plot, his introduction to gardening. A graduate in Business Administration Sylvain worked in many fields ending his career with a decade long stint in industrial baking. Now retired, he lives on Steller Raven Farm with his spouse Royann Petrell, where they have farmed organically for the past 20 years. His passion for farming, rekindled in his early 30’s, is almost an addiction. He says “There is nothing likedirt under your fingernails to make you feel in touch with nature.“ He loves to share his passion for the land and explain how Steller Raven has provided most of their fruits and vegetables while living the “100 foot Diet“. He loves experimenting with new crops and hopes to get more people growing different plants with his continued involvement in the the Plant Sale and Seedy Saturday.

Recording Secretary: Mary Anderson

Treasurer: Dianna Talbot

Dianna grew up in the Comox Valley on a hobby farm where her family had chickens, pigs, horses, dairy and beef cattle and a large vegetable garden. After graduating from UBC with a Bachelor of Forest Resource Management, she worked for several years in silviculture and wildlife research. Now living in suburban Comox (vinyl ground zero), Dianna is converting a bleak lawn into a healthy ecosystem and food garden. Dianna believes that with climate change and rising oil prices, local food production will be increasingly important. She is excited to be part of the seed saving movement. She is passionate about supporting our local farmers, protecting farmland, and developing genetically diverse locally adapted seeds for future generations. Dianna has served on the board since June 2013, organized the September 2013 garden tour, and became treasurer in May 2014. She hopes to increase local food security through the expanding CVGSS seed bank and public education.

Membership coordinator: Sylvain Alie

Directors at large:

Leona Wall

Leona grew up in Smithers, BC and learned her passion for gardening from her English Grandfather whose family made their living for generations gardening near Canterbury, Kent. She started gardening organically in the mid-nineties in a large community allotment garden in Victoria which later became a housing development. After retiring from the public service, she moved to the Comox Valley in 2003. She and her partner now live at Creekside Commons where the community has a large organic community garden. She helps coordinate the growing of vegetables. She joined CV Growers and Seed Savers shortly after arriving in the Valley and is hoping to share her passion for growing your own food and saving seed with the all generations through her involvement with Seedy Saturday, the Plant Sale, and the Fall Fair. She hosts the monthly meetings at Creekside.

Peter Polson

Anthea Kennelly

Directors’ Duties

BOARD MEMBERS – make decisions on behalf of the CVGSS membership guided by the society’s constitution and bylaws. The Board members are elected by the membership at the Annual General Meeting, or as needed during the year.

CHAIRPERSON – Chairs Board meetings, creates and distributes meeting agendas, and represents the organization in the community. Decisions are made by consensus. The Chair may conduct other meetings as well, including the Annual General Meeting and monthly membership meetings.

VICE CHAIR – Takes over the duties of the Chair when that person is absent and may assist the Chair when necessary.

MEMBERSHIP SECRETARY – Keeps an updated list and contact information of the membership, keeping that information confidential. Forwards newsletters, membership renewals, announcements and other documents as needed.

RECORDING SECRETARY – Takes minutes of the Board meetings and sends them to the Board executive. The minutes are corrected as needed and archived for reference.

TREASURER – Keeps track of financial matters of the society, records and reports this status to the Board at regular intervals.

DIRECTOR AT LARGE -Takes on various duties as needed, such as coordinating events, writing and distributing the newsletter, or updating documents.


What does non-hybrid mean?

Plant offspring can be expected to be virtually identical to the parents. Original plant varieties must be preserved because seeds from hybrid plants do not breed true. Non-hybrid is also known as “open-pollinated”.

Why save old non-hybrid varieties and native plants?

To perpetuate our seed heritage
to maintain genetic diversity and integrity to have control over our food supply

Advantages of growing older varieties:
extended harvest season:

Greater disease and pest resistance
proven over time
adapted to fluctuating water tables and temperature extremes