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MEDIA RELEASE: Growers to learn seed-production techniques for northern climates

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March 3rd, 2015 - For Immediate Release:


Farmers and gardeners to learn seed-production techniques for Northern climates

Sudbury, ON - Nine out of every 10 bites of food begin with seeds1, yet 75% of the world’s food is derived from only 12 plant and 5 animal species2 and only 3 companies control 53% of the global commercial seed market3. Farmers have been the stewards of seed biodiversity for centuries, but in recent years the production of seeds has increasingly been taken over by multinational corporations. This weekend, Sudbury-area farmers and gardeners will take seed production back into their own hands by learning the skills required to produce vegetable seeds on-farm and how to overcome the challenges of our region’s short growing season.

The Bauta Family Initiative on Canadian Seed Security, the Sudbury Horticultural Society, and FarmStart (with generous funding from FedNor and the Northern Ontario Heritage Fund Corporation) are offering an in-depth workshop series this Sunday as part of the Sudbury Seedy Sunday 2015 event at the Parkside Centre in downtown Sudbury. Michelle Smith, a long-time seed saver and market gardener from Cape Breton, will deliver an introductory workshop on the Fundamentals of Seed Saving from 11am-12:30pm and a more advanced workshop on Farm-Scale Seed Production from 1:30pm-5:00pm. Those interested in attending the workshops can register on-line at by this Thursday March 5th to receive an early-bird discount - $25/person or $40/farm for both workshops. At-the-door prices are $10/person for the Fundamentals of Seed Saving Workshop and $30/person for the Farm-Scale Seed Production workshop.

Michelle Smith has been market gardening and farming in Cape Breton for 30 years. She grows a wide variety of open-pollinated, heirloom seeds and, over the years, has built up a store of practical and technical knowledge. She grows and saves seed stock of grains, dry beans, potatoes, squashes and tomatoes as part of her rotation, devoting 5 acres of her 40 acre farm to horticultural crops and small grains. She serves on the board of Seeds of Diversity Canada as secretary and has represented Alternative Producers with the Federation of Agriculture. In her extension work she hopes to engage farmers and gardeners to develop seed-saving as part of a strategy to make their farms adaptable and responsive to changes in climate and markets.

“We are really excited to be able to offer these seed-saving workshops in Northern Ontario” says Aabir Dey, the Ontario Regional Coordinator for the Bauta Family Initiative on Canadian Seed Security. “There are excellent farmers and a passionate seed-saving community in these areas and we want to build on that knowledge and commitment by providing high quality workshops for growers interested in seed-saving.”

The Bauta Family Initiative on Canadian Seed Security is building a national movement to conserve and advance seed biodiversity, keep seed in the public domain, and promote ecological seed production. This program is delivered by USC Canada, in partnership with Seeds of Diversity Canada and through the generous support of The W. Garfield Weston Foundation.

1 Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada. “Canada’s Seed Industry.”

2 Food and Agriculture Organization. “What is happening to Agrobiodiversity?”  

3 ETC Group. “Cartel before the Horse.” 09/2013. Pages 4, 6, 7.


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grassrootssudburymedia (Grassroots Sudbury Media)
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About the Sudbury Working Group

The Sudbury working-group of The Media Co-op was formed to create independent media in the North, to speak to our issues and outlooks on our communities as well as the world around us. Independent media provides an avenue for people who are wishing to gain critical perspective on the issues that matter most to us, and to give a voice to those people and stories that you won't find in the mainstream media.

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