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Spring is in the Air – Start Your Seeds Today

 

Presenters: Cathy Christie (Kingston Area Seed System) and Tracey Filson (Rideau Thousand Island Master Gardeners)

Date: March 24, 2021 at 7 – 8 pm

Welcome to the 2021 Workshops Series for a Sustainable World, hosted by No.9 Gardens. Your registration directly supports our programs and helps us fulfill our mission of empowering youth and the general public to lead a revolution in building sustainable communities. No.9 Gardens is focused on educating people about the importance of a strong, local, resilient food system. We work with volunteers to grow fresh nutritious produce for those most in need.

About the Workshop:  Spring is in the air! Start planning your food garden to include locally sourced, open-pollinated seeds. In this workshop you will learn how easy it is to plan your food garden to include seed saving. We want you to feel more comfortable growing local, healthy food and seeds in the space that you have. Bring your dreams and your questions and we will work together to help you decide what you want to plant, how much you want to plant, where to source your seeds and how to start seedlings in a safe and supportive environment.

Location: This workshop will be delivered on Zoom. Upon registration, a link will be sent to you on the day of the workshop.

About Educators:  This workshop is being delivered by the Rideau Thousand Island Master Gardeners and the Kingston Area Seed System Initiative (KASSI).

Cathy Christie is a mother, science educator, biologist, gardener, seed saver, tree hugger and rewilder. Cathy completed her PhD in freshwater biology and BEd at Queen’s University. She has been teaching at the Faculty of Education at Queen’s for 25 years in addition to teaching at the high school level. Cathy is the Chair of the Kingston Area Seed System Initiative (KASSI) and a Master Gardener in Training. She wants everyone to build reciprocal and respectful relationships with the land and all of the beings who live with us. She is passionate about helping people learn how to grow and save local open-pollinated seeds.

Cathy will be joined by fellow Master Gardener in training, Tracey Filson. With a degree in economics from Queen’s University and a professional background in business analysis and management consulting, Tracey has always been happiest when playing in the mud. Tracey developed a love of nature from an early age, but it wasn’t until she and her husband bought an old century farmhouse northwest of Kingston that her passion for sustainable organic gardening grew. Decades later, Tracey’s zeal for organic gardening continues. She completed her Master Gardener courses in December 2020 and is pursuing a diploma in landscape design through the University of Guelph. Tracey brings a passion for learning and sharing her knowledge with others. When Tracey is not on her paddleboard with her dog, Floyd, she can be found up to her elbows in her garden.

Register here

More about No.9 Gardens:  No.9 Gardens is a 40-acre charitable educational facility, located north of Kingston. No.9 Gardens is situated on many traditional territories including Haudenosaunee (Ho-den-o-show-nee), Anishinaabe (Ah-nish-in-ah-bay), Mississauga, Algonquin, and the Wendake-Nionwentsïo nations. We are grateful to be able to offer the public these lands to live, learn, and play on.

No.9 Gardens was created to educate youth to empower and lead a revolution in building resilient communities. We act as a hands-on teaching facility and lab for the research and implementation of innovative projects and practices. We focus on low carbon communities, sustainable lifestyles, resilient local food systems and reconciliation. I urge you to check out No.9’s website for more information and updates:

Website: no9.ca/no-9-gardens/

Saturday March 20, 2021

Join us today at 1:00 pm for the Third Seedy Saturday by Zoom! In addition to the Virtual Seed Swap- seed saving and gardening experts will be on hand to answer your questions! Go to seedsgrowfood.org to register.  We look forward to seeing you there!

Saturday March 13 2021

Join us today at 1:00 pm for the Second Seedy Saturday by Zoom! In addition to the Virtual Seed Swap- seed saving and gardening experts will be on hand to answer your questions! And- drum roll please- Bear Root Gardens, Verona- one of our local seed companies will also be there. Go to seedsgrowfood.org to register

Kingston Seedy Saturdays

Three more sleeps! Join us for the first virtual seed swap and to talk about all things seedy on Saturday March 6 at 1:00 pm by Zoom!

Go to seedsgrowfood.org for more information and to register!

You only have to register once and you can attend any or all of the four events in this month! http://seedsgrowfood.org/

Master Gardener’s Virtual Gathering-Starting Seeds

Thursday, February 11, 2021 at 1 pm, FREE

For 2021, KASSI will be hosting a session on seeds and seed-saving on the second Thursday of each month at 1 pm, as part of the Rideau Thousand Islands Master Gardeners online series, Ask a Master Gardener.

February 11, 2021 – Cathy Christie, KASSI Chair and Master Gardener in training and Kathy Rothermel from Kitchen Table Seed House and KASSI Board Member will be sharing tips on starting plants from seed. You are welcome to ask any and all gardening questions in this forum. 

Go to the Master Gardeners’ website for details of the full program and how to register.   https://rideau1000islandsmastergardeners.com/upcoming-events

When registering on the Eventbrite site, you can sign up once for the full year-long series by clicking on the link at the bottom of the text, or you can select particular dates using the “select a date” button near the top of the page.

The Master Gardeners’ website is a treasury of gardening discussions, advice, and other upcoming gardening presentations online. 
In the blog section, you can read summaries of sessions held in 2020 and 2021.

Food and Seed Sovereignty is Under Attack in Canada

Read more in this letter that was sent on August 18, 2020

To Hon. Marie-Claude Bibeau, <Marie-Claude.Bibeau@parl.gc.ca>

cc Mark Gerretsen, MP for Kingston and the Islands, <Mark.Gerretsen@parl.gc.ca>

     Scott Reid, MP for Lanark-Frontenac-Kingston, <Scott.Reid@parl.gc.ca>

     Derek Sloan, MP for Hastings-Lennox and Addington, <Derek.Sloan@parl.gc.ca>

Hon. Marie-Claude Bibeau, Minister of Agriculture and Agri-food,

I am writing on behalf of the Kingston Area Seed System Initiative (KASSI), a non-profit organization that was founded by local farmers, backyard and market gardeners, and concerned community members.  Our objectives are to increase seed sovereignty, and thereby, food sovereignty and food system resilience, for the Kingston region.  We promote healthy, local food and seed production by

  • growing out the locally adapted, open-pollinated seeds from the KASSI Living Seed Commons to save and share with farmers, market gardeners, schools and every other grower and seed saver in our region
  • building a community of skilled seed savers, and
  • supporting the development of a vibrant sustainable network of local ecological growers producing local food and local seeds that can be legally grown, saved and shared.

We are very concerned about the proposal to amalgamate five seed organizations in Canada into one organization, Seeds Canada, and the consequences of this amalgamation for the seed system in Canada.

We share the urgent concerns expressed in an analysis published by the National Farmers Union in July 2020.

From the NFU analysis:

“Canada’s agriculture is seed-based, and farmers are greatly concerned about the proposed changes.

No one can deny the importance of seed – not only to farmers and agriculture, but also to food security and society at large.  The Seed Synergy groups are positioning themselves to not only influence, but replace the public regulator.  The implications of our seed system being controlled by agri-business corporations are serious.  If Seed Synergy’s amalgamation plans succeed, the independent seed grower will soon be a thing of the past, and democratically accountable public regulation process will be turned inside out, with self-interested corporations regulating farmers instead.”

An examination of the proposed board structure for Seeds Canada sets off alarm bells about the eventual loss of influence of seed growers in the organization.

Again from the NFU analysis:

“The amalgamation proposal will transfer regulatory powers to Seeds Canada.  For decades, the CSGA (Canadian Seed Growers Association) has been responsible for enforcing government regulations for pedigreed seed production under the Seeds Act, Canada’s original consumer protection legislation, which was designed to protect farmers from unscrupulous seed sellers.  The proposed Seeds Canada structure would give the seed corporations on its Board legal authority over delivery and enforcement of these and other seed-related regulations.  The choice of name, Seeds Canada, appears intended to enhance its legitimacy by encouraging the assumption that it is a government agency like Health Canada.  Seeds Canada’s proposed bylaws outline the new organization’s membership types, voting rights and board composition.  Its structure would sideline seed growers nationally and provincially while promoting seed industry corporations.  Seed growers and grain farmers would suffer the most if this comes to pass.”

The proposal calls for changes that will, over time, increase control within Seeds Canada by seed trade members other than farmers — companies that make money from seed at any point in the system — a sector that is dominated by enormous transnational, multi-commodity corporations like Bayer, Cargill, BASF, Limagrain and Syngenta.  

We fear that creation of Seeds Canada will lead to seed growers becoming indentured workers, tied to contracts set by the corporations, but being the ones taking all the environmental and financial risks such as weather and insects.  (We are reminded of the way that many American chicken farmers are tied to contracts that bind them to corporations that sell them the chicks, feed and other inputs, and then buy the finished chickens, leaving the farmers with a very narrow margin.  This situation is not at all sustainable.)

Corporate-influenced seed regulations in the European Union led to the demise of small seed companies in Europe.  When regulations were proposed to make illegal the practice of backyard gardeners trading seeds with each other, Europeans realized seed industry regulation had gone too far.  KASSI wants Canadians to wake up before we reach that stage here.

We realize that the vote on the Seeds Canada proposal underway this month is outside the control of the federal government.  

However, we call on you, as Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food, to be vigilant and prudent in your department’s dealings with the seed trade, guided by what is best for Canadian eaters and farmers, not corporation shareholders.

Whoever controls seeds controls food.  We want control of seeds to be in the hands of hundreds of thousands of Canadians, through seed companies of all sizes and through individuals with their own stash of saved seeds.  We also want the federal government to lead in restoring a robust network of public seeds research.

Such a dispersed system of seed stewardship increases the resilience and self-sufficiency of the Canadian food system — a critical responsibility of the federal government.

We saw this spring how large numbers of Canadians responded to the uncertainty of the pandemic by wanting to plant gardens — only to find that the demand for seeds outstripped the supply.  That shortage reminds us that we need to keep the seed supply in the hands of individual Canadians and farmers, through many, many seed suppliers, and supported by publicly-owned seed research.

We welcome discussing our concerns further with you or your staff.

Sincerely, 

Cathy Christie, Chair

Kingston Area Seed System Initiative

Join us on Saturday May 23 or Sunday May 24 from 2-5 in the parking lot at St Luke’s Anglican Church, 235 Nelson St, to pick up open-pollinated seeds and tomato seedlings grown from the KASSI LIVING SEED COMMONS.

Of course we will be doing this safely and socializing at a distance! 

The KASSI LIVING SEED COMMONS is a collection of locally adapted open-pollinated seeds. Open-pollinated plants grow like their parents. They produce seeds that can be legally grown, saved and shared. They are the foundation of our food system

Did you know that you can save viable bean seeds from just one plant! The same is true for squash, tomatoes, lettuce and most of the flowers in the KASSI Living Seed Commons!

Our seeds and seed collections are available on a sliding scale donation.   We don’t sell our seeds because we acknowledge and respect that they are living beings. We believe that the price on a seed packet represents the work that goes into growing, harvesting, cleaning and packaging the seeds before they get to you. Local seed companies usually request a minimum of $3.50 per seed packet for their expertise and the labour that goes into producing high quality local seeds that grow well right here where we live.  We encourage you to support them! 

We are a very, very small non-profit working with a shoestring budget especially since Seedy Saturday –our major fundraiser- was cancelled.  We rely on your donations and our amazing volunteers to help us grow, harvest, clean and package these “Seeds of Hope”.

We put together a “Seeds of Hope” Collection that includes one package of multi-purpose bush bean seeds, one package of kale seeds, one package of lettuce seeds, one package of winter squash seeds and two tomato seedlings- one red cherry tomato and one with medium sized red fruit.  Suggested donation for this collection is $20.00.

The “Seeds for Small Spaces” Collection includes 5 multipurpose bush bean seeds, lots of lettuce seeds and one cherry tomato suitable for growing in a container. Suggested donation for this collection is $5.00

Seeds for other varieties of beets, beans, lettuce and kale will be available as individual packets.  Individual tomato seedlings will also be available.  Suggested donation for these items is $3.50 each. 

We will have a donation jar on site or you can use Pay Pal to make your donation!  Instructions for how to use the Pay Pal site are available on our website (http://seedsgrowfood.org/donate/)

WE APPRECIATE WHATEVER YOU CAN GIVE TO SUPPORT OUR CRITICAL WORK!  

WE LOOK FORWARD TO SEEING YOU SAFELY AT A DISTANCE THIS WEEK-END! 

We hope that you can find the peace and joy that comes from planting seeds and connecting with the Earth in these turbulent times.Edit