A free event dedicated to preserving seeds of heritage and heirloom varieties is taking place at Brandon’s Central United Church on Saturday .
The City of Brandon’s community garden network co-ordinator, Blake Hamilton, said the fifth annual "Seedy Saturday" heritage and heirloom seed swap and sale will give community members a chance to learn more about the importance of preserving seed varieties.
"There’s a really large amount of food growing going on in Brandon, particularly in the community gardens, which have been booming in the last five years or so," Hamilton said. "There is such a renewed interest from longtime Brandon residents who are getting back into gardening because of the nutritive, economic and the physical and mental well-being associated with it."
The seed exchange will also give gardeners a chance to trade and distribute seeds they have saved over the years and three heritage seed companies will be on hand to purchase seeds from. The majority of the seeds available will be of a food variety such as vegetables and fruits, Hamilton said, as well as some heritage flower and plant varieties.
The event will take place Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. with a range of activities throughout the day. From 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., there will be a Samaritan House breakfast serving local and natural meats, organic pancakes and free run eggs at $10 per adult and $5 for children under 12.
From 11-2 p.m., Brandon University string players will perform and from 11 a.m.-3 p.m., there will be a children’s area set up for a range of seed related hands-on activities. At 2 p.m., Jim Ternier will give a presentation on seed saving with Prairie garden seed varieties and from 3 p.m.-3:30 p.m., a locally produced documentary highlighting Aagaard Farms will be shown.
Seed sale and swap information and education tables will also be available throughout the day.
This event is a joint initiative of the City of Brandon, the Brandon Community Garden Network and the Brandon Neighbourhood Renewal Corporation, with co-operation this year from the École New Era School parent council and Samaritan House.
Events similar to this one are organized and promoted across Canada by Seeds of Diversity, a non-profit organization run by volunteers that provides resources on how to maintain a nationwide seed bank, Hamilton said.
"Seed diversity is becoming increasingly threatened by the industrial food system," he said. "When a seed becomes endangered or obsolete, seed distributors simply stop stocking it ... so if it’s not for these independent and non-government organizations and volunteers we stand to lose a lot of these varieties."