In 2018, we bought a trailer and outfitted it with seed cleaning equipment to help farmers save and clean their seeds; readying them for sale. With growing interest from farmers across the province, in 2021, we added three additional mobile trailers: two for the Metro Vancouver area, one for Vancouver Island and one in the Kelowna/Shuswap area. We are continuing to expand and improve our equipment as we find out farmers’ needs in the areas we serve. Since then, we have cleaned over 140,000 pounds and hundreds of seed varieties as part of our mission to support BC farmers and increase the availability of provincially and ecologically grown seed. Our mobile seed cleaning trailers have been on tour from the northern parts of the province to the Gulf Islands, responding to demand for on-farm seed cleaning capabilities.
Often a lack of equipment stops growers from scaling up their seed cleaning. Seed cleaning by hand can be tedious but our trailer can increase the efficiency of this process while reducing labour costs, and improve the quality of the finished product. Having seed cleaned to a higher quality can help farmers increase the germination rate of their seed lots as compared to sorting by hand.
Another important part of our trailer tours is having opportunities to create community. We feel really lucky to get the chance to meet so many folks interested in food and seed growing in all areas of the province. There are great conversations and tips and tricks shared by growers with each other at each stop on our tours.
By helping farmers scale-up and incorporate seed production and strengthening community connections we are on our way to greater food system resilience for all.