Seedy Saturdays Going Virtual 

Posted on Friday, 5 February 2021 under Stories

In a normal year, January to April is filled with Seedy Saturday events throughout BC and across the Northern Hemisphere. These gatherings serve as community venues to share seed saving and gardening knowledge, swap seeds, and provide platforms for local seed companies, farmers, and crafters to sell their curated products. COVID-19 has increased awareness of local food and seed issues nationwide while simultaneously making it difficult for us to gather for resource and knowledge sharing.

Through our Seedy Saturday Capacity Building program, we have heard that Seedy organizers need help in the 2021 season to deliver pandemic-friendly events. In response, we have decided to collaboratively host BC’s first-ever province-wide Virtual Seedy Saturday Conference from February 19 – 21. Seedy Saturdays are by design, local events and should remain so. However, the pandemic has led us to seek alternative ways to meet. This conference will provide space for the public to learn about gardening, seed saving, local seed vendors, and more.

Seed swapping is a practice thousands of years old and can likely be traced back to the early days of agriculture when seed saving and sharing was often the work of women in agrarian cultures. Share on X

The current system by which few seed companies produce for everyone is a modern practice. This model lacks public input, farmer participation, and too often, shared ownership of seeds. The contemporary version of seed swapping started in 1989 with a committee of organizers headed by Sharon Rempel. They held the first Seedy Saturday event a year later in Vancouver.

We do not run Seedy Saturday events but have attended in collaboration with communities. We began our Seedy Saturday Capacity Building project a few years ago to help facilitate information and resource sharing for these local events, often run with very little or no budgets, by seed enthusiasts. In the summer of 2020, we reached out and asked groups how we could support them in these trying times. Many of them were excited about running a virtual event but had little capacity. Since December, we have helped pool resources and collaborate on a province-wide event. We thank you all for your patience while we have been working to pull this conference together.