We launched the Seed to Food program in the Summer of 2020 in response to the COVID-19 global pandemic. As the world started to see disruptions in our global food system, we realized that food is actually a waste product of seed production, and that we had a lot of it.
We mobilized quickly and collaborated with community partners to redistribute food by-products of our public Research and Education Seed Farm trials to those who need it most. In its inaugural year alone, our team salvaged over 1700 lbs of food that would have otherwise gone to compost.
This program demonstrates the possibility of seed and food production in BC to reduce food insecurities and shortages. The province is vulnerable to international restrictions and disruptions to transportation networks, as the majority of our produce and vegetable seeds are imported. A robust, local produce and seed production industry will improve food security, especially for vulnerable populations.
We hope to develop new sales streams for BC farmers by exploring efficient and economically viable methods of seed extraction and food redirection. Specifically, we explore techniques, practices, and processes to harvest both crops grown for sale and for seed in ways that continue to generate income for farmers.
We are developing an enterprise budget that can account for the costs of seed production by-products. Our team works to further encourage the implementation of similar models in BC’s seed industry and strengthen ongoing collaborations with community partners, such as FoodStash and Glorious Organics, to distribute food from our research, and through active learning and engagement opportunities on our Farm.
The fresh produce brought in by FarmFolkCityFolk was always greatly appreciated at Food Stash Foundation!
While we’re grateful for all food donations, we typically get post-consumer surplus that was not sold, so it’s often not so fresh. FarmFolkCityFolk brought produce directly to us that had been harvested that morning! It allowed us to take photos and show our audience the beauty of in-season, local produce and celebrate local food production because too often our food comes from tens of thousands of kilometers away when it can be grown right here.
Also, we learned about the food waste that typically happens in seed production and were happy to make use of cull crops and spread the word about how, together with FarmFolk City Folk, we were reducing that waste.
– Food Stash’s Program Manager, Maddie Hague