Niagara's Seedy Saturday in Photos

Just in case you couldn't make it out, here's a look at what was happening at Ball's Falls last Saturday !

The seed exchange table flowed full all day and attracted much attention.

The Lettuce, Turnip and Wine group helped to keep things running smoothly.

Tiffany from Eating Niagara tells people about her 'Garden of Eating' fruit tree program.

Seeds aplenty at The Cottage Gardener display.
More than just seeds for sale!
Informative speakers packed the house.
Passionate vendors like Mary shared advice and made suggestions to many.
Simply spectacular soup and stew was served by local foodies, peapod cuisine.
Attendees learned about MYKE, a beneficial mycorrhyzae.
Seedy legends Urban Harvest brought the goods!
Naturally, Linda at Tree & Twig  offered a fantastic array of open-pollinated seeds.
You can read Linda's blog post about the event from her perspective, and I encourage you to visit some of the links listed above.  The vendors and contributors to Niagara's Seedy Saturday were truly exceptional, and I already look forward to a bigger and better event in 2012.  Hope you'll be there too! 

What Did You Get?

Choosing varieties is the hardest part at the Tree & Twig Heirlooms display.

In my view, Seedy Saturday was a tremendous success.  The exchange tables flowed full of seeds throughout the day, the vendors were kept hopping with seed sales and requests for recommendations and advice, the speakers were engaging and informative... good times were had by all.

Did you attend a Seedy Saturday event?  Did you score some Mo Farm seeds?  Leave a comment and share your thoughts!  What did you get and what are you most looking forward to in the 2011 gardening season?

Many more photos to follow shortly!

Time to Get SEEDY!

My seeds getting packaged and labeled for the Seedy Saturday exchange table.

That's right - it's the moment I've been anticipating since I picked my last tomato in October... Seedy Saturday is tomorrow!  For me, the growing season begins this weekend as hundreds of folks will gather at Ball's Falls in Vineland to exchange and buy open-pollinated seeds.  Last year, I attended 'Seedy Saturday on a Sunday' in Toronto, and I walked away with a ridiculous amount of seeds, but also with loads of great information and a hefty helping of growing inspiration.  While the draw of the event is the seeds themselves, there are far greater benefits to being a part of the crowd.   

LT&W members pack seeds for the exchange.
If you've never been to a Seedy Saturday event, make this the year that you give it a try!  Events are held all over the country, led by passionate individuals whose hard work and drive make it all possible.  Here, the driving force is Linda Crago of Tree & Twig Heirloom Vegetable Farm in Wellandport.  Linda has worked tirelessly to organize and promote the event, and she'll be there along with the 'Lettuce Turnip & Wine' garden club members helping to run the show.  I recently joined this little group, and I'm excited to help with the event and to invite others to join us this season... but more on that later.

Back to the seeds!  So, what the hell is a Seedy Saturday, and why is it important?  Well, the fact is that many, many, many of the fruit and vegetable varieties that used to exist and thrive have disappeared.  As the modern food machine churns forward and more and more people rely solely on grocery stores for sustenance, the types of produce grown are whittled down to a mere fraction of what used to be available.  Back when folks used to grow their own food, concerns of shipping ease and shelf life didn't factor into the decision-making process for selecting what to grow.  Crops were chosen for their hardiness, adaptation to native conditions and of course, their flavour.  As fewer people grew food and more food needed to be shipped across distances to reach the masses, the standards shifted... varieties are selected for uniformity and for their ability to withstand days and weeks on trucks, leading to the elimination and even extinction of thousands of old varieties.  Many are already lost forever.  Seedy Saturday is essentially the antidote for this.  

Heirloom and open-pollinated varieties of seed are sold and more importantly, exchanged among people who value keeping the delicious, nutritious and unique varieties alive.  An 'open-pollinated' plant is one that will reproduce freely with seeds that will replicate the parent plant.  This means that when you plant an Heirloom or open-pollinated variety, you can save the seeds that it produces and plant them again and again, or as suggested by events like Seedy Saturday, share them.

In our relatively plush society, this idea may seem like a fluffy novelty.  I disagree.  I truly believe that we will witness a collapse of our food system within my lifetime.  Before you start to think me a nut, just bear with me for a moment...  our current system is unsustainable in that it relies almost completely on oil to ship food all over the world.  With resources dwindling and more frequent upsets in the price and availability of foreign oil, it's only a matter of time before the whole thing falls apart.  It's already evident, as food prices around the world begin to skyrocket in response to rising oil prices and natural disasters.  Hey, I'm not trying to fear-monger or preach, but rather explain part of what motivates me to continually attempt to become more self-sufficient.

Whether you're as hung up on growing food as I am, or you're simply interested in the fantastic feeling of pulling fresh, homegrown goods from your own backyard, Seedy Saturday is the perfect way to start your growing season.  Seed vendors, guest speakers and an inspirational buzz will surely get your green thumb itching!  I spent much of last week packaging 117 envelopes of seed that I'll contribute to the exchange table, and I hope to pick up my seed stock for this growing season there as well. I also painstakingly labeled each envelope with the MO FARM blog address, in the hopes that those who pick up the seeds will stop by to say hello and share some of their growing experiences this season.  Seeds are for sharing, and I hope to meet many new faces at the event.  So...will you be there?

All packed up and ready to share!