BC Seed Gathering

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 biennial BC 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.

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 | 9:30am-10:30am

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.

Break 10:30am-10:45am

Friday, November 3rd | 10:45am-12:00pm

Join this session on writing a successful grant proposal to learn proven strategies and tips that maximize your chances of securing grant funding for your projects. In addition to expert advice, you will also receive several grant writing resources to help you find and write your next grant proposal.

Resources provided from this session include:

  1. Class Estimate info sheet
  2. PDF of presentation (PPT)
  3. Budget template
  4. Common Grant Responses info sheet
  5. Grant preparation form template
  6. Grant Writing Tips
  7. Project Tracker Template
  8. List of applicable grant resources

Dawn Johnson

Dawn is a trusted expert in bringing together Indigenous Rightsholders and other parties while navigating complex situations to achieve optimal outcomes. She actively listens and respects unique perspectives that contribute toward constructive dialogue and consensus building, and she has a keen eye for identifying potential roadblocks and quickly adapts her approach to address challenges and capacity limitations.

Dawn has facilitated projects with diverse partners, including Indigenous communities, enterprises, local and provincial government, not-for-profit organizations, and Crown agencies. Her expertise in handling projects with overlapping jurisdictions has made her an invaluable asset on projects with political and administrative complexities.

Dawn’s funding expertise, professional project management designation and experience, and experience managing complex projects are valued by Clear Course’s growing list of clients. Her commitment to fostering collaboration, promoting open dialogue, and finding creative solutions has had a lasting impact on various projects, leaving a legacy of success and positive change in the communities Clear Course serves.

Dawn has a diploma in Restoration of Natural Systems from the University of Victoria and is a certified Project Management Professional (PMP).


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

Discover effective ways to promote seed stewardship and boost seed returns at your Seed Library. We’ll explore various methods to increase seed returns, such as initiating community grow-outs, utilizing community gardens, hosting seed cleaning workshops, engaging experienced seed savers, and more. Join in to learn from fellow seed librarians and share your own expertise!


Kamloops Food Policy Council

The Kamloops Food Policy Council (KFPC) is the longest-standing independent food policy council in Canada: pollinating projects, developing partnerships, and contributing to public policy since 1995. The KFPC has several programs including: the Stir, the Gleaning Abundance Program, the Butler Urban Farm, and the Kamloops Community Seed Library.

About the Seed Library: The Kamloops Community Seed Library is a free program that is facilitated by the Kamloops Food Policy Council and is intended to promote the age-old tradition of seed saving in order to protect genetic diversity, foster a resilient local food system, and help create a culture of sharing. The Kamloops Community Seed Library has been operating since 2017. It is located inside the Kamloops Food Policy Council’s building, the Stir, and is available to access during public events and by request. The seed library has a wide range of seeds including vegetables, grains, native plants, and ornamentals.

Sechelt Seed Library


Presenter Irene Bremer

There was always a vegetable garden growing up. More than a decade after leaving home and Canada, the bug hit her. When she lived in Cardiff, Wales she started renting an allotment in Pontcanna Permanent Allotments. Many of the allotments were derelict at the time and there were many dried seed heads that inspired her studies. Many moves later with 2 children in tow, Irene’s gardens became self seeding. She eventually realized that she could save those seeds and share them too. 

Irene joined the Sunshine coast seed saving collective in 2019. She started to run the Sechelt Seed Sharing Library in 2021 and transformed it into a year round seed library. The seed library is housed in the Sechelt Public Library and the library staff are very supportive and excited to be part of. 

Salt Spring Seed Sanctuary

We are a charitable organization working on the preservation, promotion and enhancement of heritage seeds since 2002. Our work has focused on maintaining, evaluating and keeping records for all the edible, medicinal and useful crops that can be grown in Canada, as well as encouraging local food and seed production through education and networking.

Since our beginnings, we have had hundreds of plant “custodians” across the country trialing varieties in their local climates. Starting around 2014, local communities followed our example and now there are hundreds of seed banks, sanctuaries and seed libraries across North America.

We feel that we have successfully completed an important part of our mission by helping many of these seed initiatives with advice and seeds, and we are excited to embark on a new stage for our Seed Sanctuary. To this end, our new community seed bank at The Root –Salt Spring’s brand-spanking new food hub- will play a fundamental role. We are calling our seed storage room “The Radicle Seed Bank” in honor of our newsletter, the Radicle, which we have produced for many years – and many 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

Join us for an informative and engaging session as we delve into the legalities surrounding the sharing and cultivation of cannabis seeds in Canada. As the nation continues to evolve its cannabis laws, this session provides an exploration of the regulations and considerations that individuals, seed libraries, and Seedy Saturday organizers must be aware of when it comes to cannabis seed sharing and cultivation.

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

Presented by Dawn Morrison and Rowen White.

Seeds of Resilience; The Cultural Dimension of Plant Biodiversity

Join Mohawk Seedkeeper Rowen White as she shares stories from the Indigenous Land and Seed Sovereignty movement, which embodies the vision of sustainable relational agriculture and shares the depth of the cultural dimension of plant biodiversity in North America. She will share the collective vision of intercultural healing that emerges when we center Indigenous leadership, ecological knowledge, cultural memory, and sovereignty of living in relationship with the cultural inheritance of land, seeds, and other non-human kin. Her uplifting stories from her work at the Indigenous Seedkeepers Network will paint an uplifting picture of cultural and climate sanity for the regenerative land stewardship movement in these times of great transformation.


Indigenous Seed Sovereignty – Re-membering and reconciling with Indigenous bio-
cultural heritage in times of multiple overlapping crises – coloniality, climate change and corporate control

Dawn Morrison will apply Shirley Turcotte’s trauma informed Indigenous Land Based Leadership Tools for Living to the process of acknowledging and setting aside complex trauma associated with white supremacy in the land and food system. Her presentation will acknowledge the major contributions made by Indigenous Peoples to the biocultural heritage
of humanity in the land and food system, and highlight calls to action for deep and meaningful truth and reconciliation in agriculture where Indigenous biocultural rights and responsibilities are entangled with socially and environmentally just food systems design in southwest BC.
The presentation will explore the wicked question – How can we build trust in relationships within the same colonial narratives and frameworks that erase and reduce the complex system of Indigenous bio-cultural heritage in seed sovereignty?


Rowen White

Rowen White is an Indigenous Seed Keeper from the Mohawk community of Akwesasne and a passionate activist for Indigenous seed and food sovereignty. She is the director and founder of the Sierra Seeds, an innovative organic seed cooperative focusing on local seed production and education, based in Nevada City CA. Rowen is the founder of the Indigenous Seedkeepers Network, which is committed to restoring the Indigenous Seed Commons across North America through restoring seed kinship and trade routes. She teaches creative seed training immersions around the country within tribal and small farming communities. She weaves stories of seeds, food, culture and sacred Earth stewardship on her blog, Seed Songs. Follow her seed journeys at www.sierraseeds.org


Dawn Morrison

Dawn is of Secwepemc ancestry and is the Founder/Curator of Research and Relationships for the Working Group on Indigenous Food Sovereignty. Since 1983 Dawn has worked and studied horticulture, ethno-botany, adult education, and restoration of natural systems in formal institutions, as well as through her own healing and learning journey with Indigenous Elders and knowledge holders. Following the time spent teaching Aboriginal Adult Basic Education, Dawn has been dedicating her time and energy to land-based healing and learning which led her to her life’s work of realizing herself more fully as a developing spirit aligned leader in the Indigenous food sovereignty movement. Dawn has consistently organized time and space over the last 18 years for transformational learning in food systems networks that have been foundational for generating a body of research to support decolonizing food systems in community, regional, national, and international networks where she has become internationally recognized as a published author on the topic. Dawn’s work on the Decolonizing Research and Relationships is focused on creating ethical spaces of engagement, that serves to balance the cross-cultural burden carried by Indigenous Peoples in the interface where Indigenous food sovereignty meets, coloniality, climate change, and the corporate control of the food system.

Some of the projects Dawn is leading include: Wild Salmon Caravan, Indigenous Food and Freedom School, Dismantling Structural Racism in the Food System, and research projects including: Mapping out and Advocating for the Establishment of Indigenous Foodland Conservation Areas, and CIHR funded Indigenous Food Sovereignty and Community Wellbeing Amidst a Pandemic.


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

The engagement stations are part of our commitment to facilitating relationship-building and connections at the BC Seed Gathering. During the allotted times, in-person participants will be able to interact directly with seed growers, advocates, and community organizers working with seed production, care, and education across BC. You will have the chance to participate in educational activities, find important information about events, opportunities for involvement, and more!
The central portion will happen on Friday, November 3rd, from 7 pm to 8:30 pm. Additional opportunities will be available during the breaks on Saturday, November 4th.

Saturday, November 4th | 7:30am-8:30am

We welcome you to start your day outside and enjoy the sunrise with coffee and pastries at the KPU Farm. The KPU Sustainable Agriculture Department faculty will be on hand to chat about the solar growing dome, high tunnels, cover crops, and anything else you might want to know. Come visit with us or take a quiet, self-guided walk to see the fields and bog.


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

Reconciling Food Systems is a workshop that supports allies and co-conspirators in developing their understanding of Indigenous food systems and builds capacity for community-led change. We will come together to create a shared account of the impact of colonization and the Indian Residential School system on First Nations food systems and work to develop an understanding of how we can act as change agents to rebuild Indigenous food sovereignty. Participants will walk away with reconciliation commitments and a deeper understanding of their role in reconciliation.

You will learn:

  • Reconciliation commitments
  • Understanding of Indigenous food systems
  • Deeper understanding of your role in reconciliation

Charlene Seward

Charlene Seward is a proud member of the Squamish Nation with closes ties to the Snuneymuxw Nation. She is a facilitator, a gardener, and food sovereignty steward. Charlene runs a food sovereignty project on her reserve in West Vancouver, building gardens and native plant gardens to support the redevelopment of Indigenous food sovereignty.

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

The regulatory landscape for seeds in Canada is complex and highly nuanced. Issues related to seed certification, variety registration, and intellectual property can be really overwhelming to make sense of – how can farmers, seed savers, and citizens better understand the benefits and challenges in Canada’s seed system? In turn, how can they be more involved in advocating for seed systems that support climate resilience and food/seed sovereignty? This session will review the major seed policy developments in Canada that are relevant for farmers and seed growers today. It will also explore how individuals can get engaged at local, regional, and national levels so farmers and seed savers can continue to do the important work of building equitable and climate-resilient seed systems in Canada.

You will learn

  • Understanding the main regulatory frameworks that impact farmers and seed growers in Canada (policies related to seed certification, variety registration, intellectual property, and genetic engineering)
  • Understanding how to participate in key federal seed policy advocacy campaigns
  • Understanding how to advocate at local, regional, and federal levels on seed policy issues

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

Aabir Dey is the Director of SeedChange’s Canadian field program, The Bauta Family Initiative on Canadian Seed Security. Aabir developed his passion for seeds (and an obsession for garlic) while working at Everdale Farm, where he helped Seeds of Diversity Canada grow their Great Canadian Garlic Collection. He completed a Master of Environmental Studies at York University, researching organic seed systems in Ontario, before joining SeedChange. Aabir has been instrumental in shaping and leading the Bauta Initiative’s training, research, and policy programs. Aabir is thrilled to be working with seed producers and farmers all over Canada to promote seed sovereignty coast-to-coast. (he/him, Guelph)

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

Join a panel of small scale grain growers and learn the potential for growing, and processing, grains on your farm. From field to plate, learn the tips, tricks, DIY tools, and farm hacks for producing and processing small scale heirloom grains.

This presentation is designed for people thinking about the possibility of growing small grains. It will discuss general factors to consider in deciding whether to grow grains, what grains to grow, how and at what scale. It will deal with practical issues that arise at each step, from seeding to harvesting and processing, to marketing, seed saving and community building. Rather than “selling” the benefits of grain growing, the presentation aims to help each participant think through each step in the process from their perspective, to see if it makes sense for them to turn an idea that seems “cool” into an operation that is “do-able” in their community for years to come.

You will learn

  • Factors to consider when deciding whether to grow grains
  • Planting windows for various grain varieties
  • Planting techniques
  • Growing techniques
  • Harvesting, processing, and storage

Jim Grieshaber-Otto

Jim Grieshaber-Otto has grown organic wheat, oats, rye and barley at Cedar Isle Farm in the eastern end of the Fraser Valley for over 12 years. He plants largely home-saved seeds and grows a range of heritage, unique and modern varieties suited to the area. The farm relies on crop rotation for weed control and nutrient management and uses older small-scale equipment for harvesting and on-farm cleaning, rolling and bagging. Most of the grain is grown for a yearly CSA program, or sold through direct sales to small retail outlets and selected bakers. The farm depends upon and is rooted in the spirit of community and values its close connection to the surrounding natural environment. It is certified organic by BCARA, certified Salmon-Safe, and shares the land with many wild creatures.

Rupert Adams

Rupert Adams is an award winning Brew-master; a social and environmental activist; retired music events promoter, booking agent, and DJ; and yoga teacher. He has been growing seeds and medicinal herbs for over 20 years and has worked for close to 2 decades with Dan Jason of Salt Spring Seeds. Rupert currently grows a wide variety of vegetable, grain, and herb seeds for the BC Eco Seed Coop, of which he is a member, and Salt Spring Seeds. Rupert worked for 3 years as a co-ordinator and training advisor to the Bauta Family Initiative on Canadian Seed Security and has been involved in various educational and practical seed projects. He has 2 books published – Medicinal Herbs to Know and Grow (Salt Spring Seeds Books) and Medicinal Perennials to Know and Grow (Harbour Publishing) both co-authored with Dan Jason.

Mike Doehnel

Growing and malting grain on the Saanich Peninsula for just 25 years, much less than our rock picking pioneers

Break 10:15am-11am

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

Reducing barriers to restoration is one of the primary objectives of Satinflower Nurseries. Over the last ten years, the nursery has worked to encourage the use of native seeds on southern Vancouver Island by making them available and accessible and providing education about the use of seed in restoration.  The nursery grows approximately 120 native species at two seed locations totalling ~0.65 ac, producing roughly 25-30 kg of seed annually. All species are of local provenance and are wild type (ie. not subject to any selection process). Field grown plants for seed production are grown without herbicides, pesticides, chemical fertilizers, or irrigation. Species are grown for their ecological values as well as for food plants and plants with other cultural values. Native seeds are made available through custom and pre-designed blends and individual seed packets. Species with the highest cultural values are grown in larger quantities to permit sharing with communities. This talk will highlight small-scale native seed production from a business perspective, including barriers, seed production processes, cleaning, packaging, and community education.


Kristen Miskelly, MSc Botany, RPBio  

Kristen is a biologist passionate about native plants, ecology, ecosystem restoration, and native plant propagation. Her undergraduate work focused on grass taxonomy, and she completed her master’s in paleoecology at the University of Victoria, where she studied the preglacial flora of southern Vancouver Island. Since 2012, her work has focused on the Prairie-Oak ecosystems of Southern Vancouver Island. Kristen is a sessional lecturer at the University of Victoria, teaching courses in Biology and Ecological Restoration, and she operates Satinflower Nurseries: Native Plants, Seeds & Consulting (previously Saanich Native Plants).  She and her husband, James, started the nursery in 2013 to inspire and empower people to connect with nature through native plants. With the help of about a dozen employees, the nursery aims to support the broader community in their restoration and native plant goals by supplying genetically local native plants and seeds and providing nature-based education. Kristen continues to provide ecological consultation to various agencies and groups and teaches courses and workshops on native plants, propagation, and local ecology.

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!

On the Seed Elder Panel: John Alcock, Rebecca Jehn, Mojave Kaplan, Heather Pritchard

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

Join Jen and Jesyca from Growing Opportunities in Nanaimo and John Alcock from Sunshine Farms in Kelowna for a conversation on seed farming with people of all abilities. Growing Opportunities Farm Community Co-op believes in a community-based food system that is equitable, empowering and capable of regenerating the land through hands-on opportunities for people of all skills and abilities. Sunshine Farm is a certified organic farm, and uses this setting to offer vocational development opportunities to adults in the community living sector. Opportunities based on interest and choice are the foundation of their philosophy, respecting the rights of the individual, and building self respect.

Jen Cody – Growing Opportunities 

Growing Opportunities Farm Community Co-op believes in a community-based food system that is equitable, empowering and capable of regenerating the land through hands-on opportunities for people of all skills and abilities.

Our projects celebrate diversity and strive to inspire collaboration through the combined contributions of individuals in our workforce, community organizations and a growing base of volunteers. ​


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

The farming population isn’t getting any younger and having the next generation involved is important for the whole community. Learn about mentorship and training programs with perspectives from both mentors and those new to the seed world. Jesse Wallis and Rebecca Jehn will talk about their experience with FarmFolk CityFolk’s mentorship program, and Loki Wallace and Kareno Hawboldt will talk about their seed training course and mentorship. ​

You will learn:

• The value of creating and participating in local community-based learning exchanges with farmers and gardeners
• How being part of a mentorship is a rich 2-way relationship that brings fresh energy and vitality to a more seasoned farmer, and support/inspiration to a newer farmer
• Learn about an opportunity to contribute seed to a new Coastal Foodways community seed/food project on the BC Central Coast

Kareno, Kimi, and Loki

Kareno (she/her) has been saving seed and farming for the past 22 years, beginning with humble community roots at Strathcona gardens, learning and saving seed for the Environmental Youth Alliance gardens. Kareno apprenticed with Dan Jason of Saltspring Seeds 21 yrs ago, was lucky to learn the art of seed saving and market farming through the fine farmers at Stowel Lake Farm and Saanich Organics, and has studied seed saving with the Organic Seed Alliance & John Navazio.

Seeds and seed saving have been core to Kareno’s passion and politics. Over the past 10 years, she taught organic market crop farming, seed saving, herbal medicine-making, and practicum at KPU Richmond Farm School. Kareno co-owns and operates Sweet Digz Farm, and is passionate about being a forever student of the earth, learning from the seasons and the seeds, and sharing her passion with others.

Kimi is Kareno’s partner in the fields and in life, and has farmed since they began Sweet Digz Farm in 2013. She has taught Small Farm Construction skills at RFS, and enjoys sharing business, marketing, and farmer resiliency insights with fellow small-scale farmers.

Sweet Digz Farm is proud to be a grower-member of the BC EcoSeed Coop!

Rebecca Jehn and Jesse Wallis

Break 3:45pm-4:30pm

During this break, the KPU Seed Lab will be available for an open house. Check out the equipment, ask questions, and provide feedback. Dr. Alex Lyon will be present to answer any questions.

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

Across Turtle Island, there is a growing intergenerational movement of rematriation of seeds and foods back into Indigenous communities of origin.  Some having been missing from communities for decades or even centuries;   Generations later, these seeds are now coming back home; from the vaults of public institutions, seed banks, universities, and seedkeeper collections; Seeds waiting for loving hands to patiently place them into welcoming soil once more so that they can continue to fulfill their original agreement to help feed the people.  Rowen will share with us the hopeful stories from the seed rematriation movement, with ways that empower the cross-cultural reconciliation work that is at the heart of the path of restoring food sovereignty and seed sovereignty within native communities.

Rowen White

Rowen White is an Indigenous Seed Keeper from the Mohawk community of Akwesasne and a passionate activist for Indigenous seed and food sovereignty. She is the director and founder of the Sierra Seeds, an innovative organic seed cooperative focusing on local seed production and education, based in Nevada City CA. Rowen is the founder of the Indigenous Seedkeepers Network, which is committed to restoring the Indigenous Seed Commons across North America through restoring seed kinship and trade routes. She teaches creative seed training immersions around the country within tribal and small farming communities. She weaves stories of seeds, food, culture and sacred Earth stewardship on her blog, Seed Songs. Follow her seed journeys at www.sierraseeds.org

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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