|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.|
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!|