As farmers that practice organic and ecological methods, we care deeply for the food we grow and the land we grow it on. We believe that if our food is organic and ecologically grown with care, our seeds should be too. We’re not the only ones - the demand for organic products is growing and so is the demand for organic seeds. Yet the organic seed supply isn’t keeping up with this growth, and most organic farmers face barriers to accessing organic seeds including availability, insufficient quantity, high cost and more.
The BC Eco Seed Co-op was formed as a response to these challenges. Our mission is to increase the quantity and improve the quality of ecological and organic seed grown in BC. Seed represents profound potential for improving our food and agricultural systems. For example, by growing and selecting seed with diverse genetics and high resilience and adaptability to the variable conditions that may result from our changing climates, we can create seed supplies that are better able to grow in the variable conditions of climate change. These actions contribute to a more resilient food system and improve food security in BC.
Below are just a few reasons to celebrate local, open-pollinated, organic and ecologically grown seeds and the small-scale farmers in BC who grow them for you:
Seeds connect us. Open-pollinated seeds saved by farmers tell the story of the land and those that grew them. Many seeds have been saved and passed down over generations. Keeping these seeds alive maintains a connection to traditional knowledge and cultural roots. These seeds connect us to our past and future, robust food systems, and the earth.
Seeds hold biodiversity. Globally, we have lost 75% of agricultural biodiversity in the last 100 years, and 75% of the world’s food is derived from only 12 plant and 5 animal species Choosing open-pollinated varieties bred by a diversity of farmers helps to preserve and increase biodiversity. Biodiversity is what allows plants to adapt and change. The more diversity we foster, the better equipped we are to grow and save healthy and productive crops.
Seeds are alive. Seeds are living connections between generations of plants. They hold important genetic information that directs the growth and development of the next generation. We are growing, saving and selecting seed from crops grown across a variety of climatic regions in BC and the genetic information they hold will help ensure seed security for our future.
Seeds are for all of us. Due to corporate consolidation in the seed industry, 3 companies now control 53% of the global commercial seed market. The top ten seed companies account for 75%! (See this graphically here) Small-scale seed growers are motivated to save seed for a variety of reasons: flavour, colour, regional conditions, preservation (of rare or unique varieties), food security or experimentation.
Seeds feed more than us. Open-pollinated seeds develop after an exchange of genetic material between plants occurs - pollination! Much of this pollination occurs with thanks to insects like bees and butterflies. Farms that grow seed crops are allowing large portions of their farms to bloom, feeding insects and supporting our ecosystem.
Strong seeds grow strong plants. Seeds grown and saved from small-scale organic and ecological farms are better equipped to grow in these same conditions. Many conventionally grown seeds are grown with pesticides and fertilizers, creating less-resilient plants that rely on inputs. Seeds grown by farmers, for farmers in BC, perform well in our region.
Growing plants from seed is an amazing process, and as farmers we witness the wonder of seeds every day. Among the daily chores and hard work of farming there are also moments of pause and delight as we look out at freshly seeded crops and see little green stripes of life that will soon become our harvests. Even after decades of farming, this sight still brings joy. Thanks for choosing BC Eco Seed Coop!Check out our resources blog post for more information on growing, saving and seed security.