BC Seed Gathering

Save the date for our upcoming 2023 BC Seed Gathering happening this November 3rd and 4th at the Richmond Kwantlen Polytechnic University campus.


Our BC Seed Gathering connects over 100 seed growers, advocates, and community organizers from across BC to build and align a strong provincial seed sector. Biennial seed gathering events increase the availability, supply, quality, and diversity of locally produced seeds through learning and engagement opportunities. We collaborate with stakeholders to build momentum from these gatherings for a broader impact on BC’s sustainable seed sector. BC Seed Gathering’s diverse session content intentionally facilitates meaningful dialogue and opportunities for participants to connect in a greater capacity. There are no other seed-specific events like this around.

The BC Biennial Seed gathering is a place for farmers, gardeners, students, and seed community activists to come together to learn and share ideas on a number of different issues as they relate to seed security.  Workshops cover topics such as seed saving, community organizing, seed ownership.  These workshops are geared to helping improve communications, seed saving skills, and as a place to share knowledge about how seed security is an integral part of food security.

In-Person Ticket Sales for the BC Seed Gathering 2023 Indigenous Tickets for the BC Seed Gathering 2023 Virtual Tickets for the BC Seed Gathering 2023 Event Sponsorship Application

Thank you to our 2023 BC Seed Gathering Sponsors

Who is the BC Seed Gathering for?

Everyone is welcome at the BC Seed Gathering! The gathering is a place for farmers, gardeners, students, researchers, seed librarians, and community activists to come together. Whether you have been involved in the seed sector for decades, or are brand new to seed saving, there is a place for you at the gathering.

The Seed Gathering Experience


Participate in sessions covering a wide range of topics led by experts who work throughout the seed sector. The gathering provides a place to ask questions, share knowledge, and learn from each other.


We are placing an emphasis on providing opportunities to connect, leaving space to have unscheduled, impromptu conversations, and facilitating relationship-building at the BC Seed Gathering. 


From working group meetings to an interactive seed breeding workshop, the BC Seed Gathering will allow attendees to participate in meaningful dialogue and build momentum in BC’s sustainable seed sector as we discover new opportunities for cooperation and partnership.

This meeting is for members of the BC Eco Seed Co-op. The session will run from 9am-12pm and 1-4pm on Friday, November 3rd.

Friday, November 3rd | 10am-11:00am

Have your seed growing and saving questions answered! In this open-format workshop, David and Jolene will cover topics such as seed stewardship, plant reproduction, garden design, isolation distances, population size, seed harvesting and storage, and time to discuss more advanced crops and techniques. This session will be guided by your questions and inquiries, with ample time for Q&A.

David Catzel

David started his farming career in Vancouver, working with the Environmental Youth Alliance, running gardening programs for youth out of the Cottonwood and Strathcona Community gardens. He had the opportunity to experiment with seed growing, breeding, low till annual production, intercropping, and companion planting while working with Glorious Organics Co-op in Aldergrove, BC. He has taught workshops in gardening, composting, permaculture, and seed saving to adults and children all over the lower mainland. David enjoys learning directly from the soil, seeds, plants, and children who are part of his farmscape, and looks forward to bringing his enthusiasm for the perpetuation and promotion of sustainable seed growing to producers and consumers across BC.

Jolene Swain

Jolene Swain tends crops and seeds on Gitxsan territory in the Kispiox Valley of Northern BC. Equipped with a Masters in Biology and a love of plants, she has lived and worked across BC, Alberta and the Yukon. Her field work has ranged from studying pikas and plants in the alpine tundra, to biodiversity surveys in the boreal forest and research on insect pest outbreaks and climate change in organic fruit orchards. A biologist turned farmer, Jolene’s journey into seed production started as part of WoodGrain Farm, where seed production became increasingly integrated into the market garden. With a shifting focus towards seed, finding varieties that are adapted to and thrive in the northwest has started a journey towards growing not only seeds, but a network of seed savers to keep diverse seeds in the hands of people and communities. When not tending crops, you can find Jolene on the river or in the forest; floating, foraging, and botanizing.

Friday, November 3rd | 11:00am-12:00pm


More details to come.


Friday, November 3rd | 1:00pm-2:00pm

More info to come.

Friday, November 3rd | 2:30pm-4:00pm

Invasive plants cause environmental, social, and economic harm. In BC most invasive plants are not illegal to sell, trade or purchase, and some are readily available as seeds and plants from multiple sources. Seed stewards and librarians can take precautions to minimize the sharing of invasive seeds and therefore the spread of invasive plants in the wider environment. During this session, learn how to ensure your seed library is invasive-free and review seeds of particular concern that you may encounter.

You will learn

• Responsible seed stewardship
• Understanding the impacts of invasive plants
• Learn the names, ID and impacts of high priority invasive plants in BC that may be readily available as seeds
• Resources and experts to connect with in all regions to consult for more information on non-invasive seeds

Tasha Murray

Tasha has been involved in conservation in the Pacific Northwest for over twenty years with a focus on invasive species management, environmental education and volunteer engagement. She has a Bachelor of Science from Thompson Rivers University and a Master’s of Science in Teaching from Portland State University. She previously worked as the coordinator of the Vancouver Aquarium’s River Works program, an aquatic stewardship initiative focused on volunteer-based restoration projects. Since 2008, Tasha has worked at the Invasive Species Council of Metro Vancouver (ISCMV), a non-profit society working to improve the way invasive species are managed in the region. As the Executive Director she is currently leading the ISCMV team. She is a regional expert on invasive species and integrated pest management and is frequently invited to speak and consult on this conservation issue.


BC Craft Farmers Co-op

More info coming soon.

Friday, November 3rd | 4:30pm-6:00pm

Presented by Dawn Morrison and Rowen White.

More details to come.


Friday, November 3rd | 7:00pm-8:30pm

More details to come.


Saturday, November 4th | 9:00am-10:00am

Session description coming soon.

You will learn

  • complexity of regulatory regimes;
  • critical importance of seed policy;
  • need for seed policy and regulatory regimes that foster the growth of place-based seed systems

Abra Brynne

Abra Brynne has been deeply involved in farming and food systems her entire life, beginning with a childhood on a farm in BC’s Okanagan Valley, where her family belonged to a local tree fruit marketing cooperative. She has worked closely with farmers and on food systems for thirty years, with a priority on value chains and the regulatory regimes that impede or support them. She has worked as a policy advisor in the fisheries, meat, cannabis, and organic sectors. Abra is a founding member of many agriculture and food organizations, including Kootenay Local Agriculture Society, the Canadian Association of Food Law & Policy, and Food Secure Canada. Abra is FarmFolk CityFolk’s Policy Advisor on climate change and food systems. She is also currently pursuing a PhD focusing on settler roles in advancing Indigenous food sovereignty in Canada.

Aabir Dey

Info coming soon.

Saturday, November 4th | 9am-10:15am

More details to come.

Break 10:15am-11am

Saturday, November 4th | 11am-12:15pm

With Tiffany Traverse and Julian Napoleon

More details coming soon.

Saturday, November 4th | 11am-12:15pm

The first clear historical evidence for carrots as a root crop is relatively recent – 1200-1500 years ago, in Central Asia – Afghanistan and Iran. These first carrots were managed as an annual winter crop, as is much of the global production of carrots today. But when carrots reached northern Europe in the 1300’s a winter crop was not possible and biennial carrots were developed. Exposure of biennial carrots to temperatures under 5-15C is essential to assure a seed crop. This can be achieved in the field, but more reliably depends on postharvest cold storage. In this workshop we will discuss best practices for vernalizing carrots. During the vernalization period carrots can be selected for traits you want to improve – shape, size, and smoothness; internal color and uniformity; flavor and nutritional quality. With selection completed after at ~6-8 weeks of vernalization, carrot seed pieces or stecklings are ready to be grown for a seed crop. We will discuss aspects of the floral biology of carrots and methods for controlled pollination of the crop – isolation to assure genetic purity of the seed crop and pollination of flowering carrots. Several pests and diseases can limit seed productivity when the crop is grown in the field, but rarely a problem for seed production in the greenhouse. When seed crop is mature, it is ready to be harvested, fully dried, despined, and stored. And then you are ready to plant your next root crop.

Dr. Phil Simon

Phil is a USDA geneticist and member of the University of Wisconsin faculty. Phil’s research in vegetable genetics and breeding has focused on fresh market carrot improvement, targeting improved flavor and nutritional quality, nematode, disease and abiotic stress resistance, and genetic mapping of these and other traits. He leads the USDA breeding effort in the development of widely used carrot germplasm with improved flavor and nutritional value, novel color, and root-knot nematode resistance. To complement his breeding effort, along with students and collaborators, he has developed breeding tools, including co-leadership in the sequencing of the carrot genome, and he has collected carrot, Allium, and other vegetable germplasm in ten collecting expeditions in Central Asia, Anatolia, North Africa, Europe, and the Americas. Phil has undertaken related plant breeding research including the first production of true seed in garlic, and development of cucumber and melon germplasm with orange color and elevated carotene content.

Phil’s early career efforts focused on developing screening methods to breed for sweeter, less harsh carrot flavor, and high carotene carrots as an improved source of vitamin A. His release of dark orange carrot germplasm provided a foundation to increase the current average US carrot vitamin A nutritional value by over 40%, relative to carrots of the 1970’s. His release of purple carrot germplasm in the 1990’s proved a foundation for the re-introduction of novel carrot colors into modern US markets. He leads the Carrot Improvement for Organic Agriculture (CIOA) project to combine improved flavor and nutritional value in a range of carrot colors, with disease and pest resistance and also with larger tops for better weed competitiveness. He also leads the Carrot Specialty Crop Research Initiative (SCRI) project screening 700 open-pollinated carrot landraces and cultivars to identify new gene sources and provide a foundation for future carrot improvement.

Lunch Break 12:15pm-2:00pm

Seed Elder Panel 1:00pm-2:15pm

Join this session to hear from the folks in our communities who have been working with seeds for much of their lives. Listen to their stories of awe and discovery as well as the mistakes made along the way that lead to hard learning or beautiful discoveries!

Saturday, November 4th | 2:30pm-3:45pm

Session details coming soon.


Jen Cody – Growing Opportunities 

More info coming soon.


Jon Alcock – Sunshine Farms 

Sunshine Farm is Certified Organic and uses this setting to offer Vocational Development Opportunities to Adults in the Community Living Sector. The farm provides a mixed setting for hands-on experience with a multitude of activities. We accommodate a wide variety of interests such as cooking classes, music classes, literacy, computer, woodworking, greenhouse, equipment operation, etc. Opportunities based on interest and choice are the foundation of our philosophy, respecting the rights of the individual, and building self-respect. The educational opportunities at the farm occur in the gardens, as well as in the various buildings (shop, barn, greenhouses, etc.). The setting is diverse, offering a chance to learn about equipment, woodworking, plants, seed collection, greenhouse work, harvesting, labelling, math skills, weighing, and packaging, as well as the classes mentioned above.

Saturday, November 4th | 2:30pm-3:45pm

More details coming soon.

Break 3:45pm-4:30pm

Saturday, November 4th | 4:30pm-5:45pm

Presented by Rowen White.

More details to come.


Saturday, November 4th | 4:30pm-5:45pm

Seed Worker Organizing is a group of seed growers, seed workers, and allies, advocating for fair prices, more just contracts, better seed ethics practices, and agrobiodiversity conservation. Because of a lack of publicly available information, seed growers are often unable to adequately advocate for themselves, and to command the pay and terms they need to do quality work. To help improve this situation SWO has been working on a document that proposes specific recommendations for fair, mutually equitable contracts and working relationships between seed producers and seed sellers, as part of quality seed systems. This session will introduce our work so far, and provide an overview of the concepts we feel are most important to keep in mind when approaching seed production contracts.

You will learn:

  • types of contracts
  • compensation and risk sharing
  • stock seed considerations
  • seed source transparency
  • understanding seed quality

Craig Boychuk and Members of SWO

Image coming soon.

Craig Boychuk is a seed grower and amateur plant breeder who operates No Coast Seeds, a new seed company based in East Central Saskatchewan. NCS is focused on contemporary open pollinated cultivars, diverse gene pool mixes, farm original releases, and OSSI-pledged varieties that deliver short-season performance on the prairies.

Lindsay Klaunig grows seed, specialty veg and livestock at Trouvaille Farm in Athens, OH. In the winter months, she makes chocolate and seedy confections too.

Heron Breen was born, and continues to reside, in Saint Albans, Maine, a small town in the central inland area of this northeastern US state. Alongside 25+ years working in the retail seed trade, Heron has been running an independent variety preservation, seed production, and plant breeding operation with isolation plots across local towns. Research and seed education have become welcome additions to that seed work, as well as helping as a volunteer co-organizer at regional seed events in the Northeastern US.

Edmund Frost has managed Twin Oaks Seed Farm in Louisa, Virginia since 2008, growing and selling seeds to a handful of seed companies. He also co-owns Common Wealth Seed Growers, a cooperatively-run retail seed company project that researches, develops, produces and sells seeds that are well adapted to the Southeast U.S. He has been an enthusiastic participant in the organic seed movement for a number of years, and is excited to be part of Seed Worker Organizing’s efforts to advocate for practices that better support seed growers and potential seed growers.

Dinner 6:00-7:30pm

Saturday, November 4th | 7:30-9:00pm (In-person ticket holders only)

Dig deep into the knowledge and connections you’ve gathered over the weekend to overthrow The System. Theatre on Earth presents a whimsical & interactive seed game. Don’t worry, we’ll band together and do this as a team. Theatre on Earth uses masks, music, and puppetry to explore environmental concerns and food security. Join us!
Drinks will be available for purchase during the event.


Check Out the 2021 BC Seed Gathering Schedule and Speakers

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