About Us

The Kingston Area Seed System Initiative (KASSI) is a grassroots organization founded by local farmers, backyard and market gardeners, and concerned community members. We promote responsible stewardship of our seed heritage.

Our Mission is to grow our community seed heritage.

Our Goals are to ensure sustainable local food production by:

  • Fostering a healthy regional seed system
  • Growing out and distributing heirloom and locally-adapted seed
  • Creating a vibrant network of regional growers

We believe these objectives will help increase seed (and thereby food) security for the Kingston region.

In 2011, a small group  of us came together over the following proposal which, although it has been and will continue to be modified (note the change from Kingston Area Seed Security Initiative to Kingston Area Seed System Initiative), does set some context:

Give that the following conditions are widely held to be true, that:

  1. Biodiversity of locally adapted food crop seeds is dwindling
  2. Costs of fuel for transporting food and seeds are rising
  3. Climate chaos is affecting weather patterns and pest populations/migrations
  4. Taste, adaptability and nutritional quality of food crops are not prioritized by current plant breeding programs
  5. Farmers and eaters are not supported by the current food system
  6. Environmental degradation affects soil and water quality now and into the future
  7. There is a lack of awareness among young Canadians about the origins of food
  8. First Nations communities are rapidly losing their traditional food and seed varieties and knowledge

Be it resolved that a Kingston Area Seed Security Initiative (henceforth KASSI) be established to support farmers, gardeners and eaters to:

  1. Maintain and increase biodiversity of locally-adapted food crop seeds
  2. Grow, sort and store seeds locally thereby reducing transportation and fuel costs
  3. Grow seeds out regularly to keep seeds adaptable to climate and pest populations, using horizontal plant breeding and other proven community-based trials
  4. Utilize formal, replicated seed trials to select for improved taste, nutrition and local adaptability for Kingston eaters
  5. Advocate on behalf of farmers and growers to support realistic food prices while developing programs to get healthy food to all eaters regardless of income
  6. Practice environmental sustainability in growing/storage/infrastructural and purchasing policies at all times
  7. Support and encourage young people to be aware of issues around healthy food and healthy food systems
  8. Support and encourage First Nations peoples in maintaining traditional food and seed varieties and knowledge

These aims may best be accomplished in three parts, each of which is connected to the others and governed by appropriate community-based structures:

  1. Growers Cooperative
  2. Trial Grounds and Safe Storage-Seed Bank
  3. Public Access Seed Library and Back-up Safe Storage