Importance of Breeding and Sourcing Local Seeds

Posted on Thursday, 6 May 2021 under Stories

The onset of the global pandemic and continued stresses of climate change highlighted the need for more locally produced and climatically adapted seeds in order to support sustainable food supplies in the province.

Seeds are arguably the most important part of food systems and the foundation of food security. Simon Toole and his partner Heather Mills of Good Earth Farms, began saving their seeds in 1999 as a way to help disrupt the international seed market and protect the supply of open-pollinated seeds in their community. These stewards aim to supply gardeners and farmers with high-quality seeds to support an abundant local food system.

“We are trying to play a small part in creating a living museum of seed biodiversity,” says Toole.

collage of farming images

Photo courtesy of Heather Mills.

According to the Government of Canada, climate change has and will continue to impact farmers’ ability to fight an increased range, frequency, and severity of infestations including weed growth, and “prevalence of pests and pathogens in livestock and crops.”

“Farming is becoming much harder with the climate crisis and without widespread immediate action, our life support system is at risk,” adds Toole.

Protecting seed biodiversity gives farmers a chance to adapt to climate change. It also allows them to choose varieties from a range of seeds best suited for their specific growing conditions and production needs.

We have partnered with the BC Ministry of Agriculture, Food, and Fisheries to supply Food Hubs across the province with new seed cleaning equipment that will help alleviate seed saving and breeding barriers. This collaboration will help BC farmers scale up and incorporate seed production and cleaning as an economically viable part of their business.

To learn more about our numerous programs that support and empower growers to save and breed their seeds, on our BC Seed Security Program page.

display of seeds

Photo courtesy of Heather Mills.