In this behind the scenes look at how we’re farming in the face of COVID-19 we hear from Theresa Heinekey, BC Seed Grower for Saanich Organics - Seeds of the Revolution! Theresa touches on the value of seeds, feeding the community and the appreciation of patience.
What is a significant change you've faced on your farm over the past few weeks?
We've been so lucky. I work for Saanich Organics and also manage the seed saving business- Seeds of the Revolution. As a way to keep it afloat and supplement the other farms, we provide produce to restaurants, and the number one thing they (usually) want is salad greens. As COVID began, there were so many pounds of salad going bad because restaurants weren’t in need, and so we opened the field up to gleaners. It is always sad to have a crop that goes to waste, and this was a way to make use of it and support others in our community. Though salad sales had been down, there was more profit coming in from in seed sales, luckily. In the seed realm, things have been really good, and it has really given me an appreciation for having a stockpile of seed. We had this safety net, knowing there will be seed to plant this season, while still being careful to not oversell because we have now seen that value has shifted and seeds are so valuable, especially on the farm.
What is one thing you need the community to understand right now?
We were not quite set up to deal with the number of orders that were coming in. In the beginning, it took a little longer to get people's seeds out and there were some silly mistakes. For example, Scarlet runner bean seeds went into packets labelled Early wonder beets, but people were kind in noticing the mixup and we really appreciated the patience folks showed us and we are thankful for that.
Another thing would be to know that seeds really do have value and to encourage people to reach out and ask questions or google information to make sure they are doing it right. Maybe people are buying these seeds as first-time gardeners and maybe they aren't planting them or don't know how. Asking questions and seeking information will help respect the seeds and also the gardener’s time because that is valuable too.
What is some good news or small joy to tell us about?
Supposedly we get to hug again soon! Having my farm partner come back to work, as well as staff returning from last year has been great, it is so nice to reconnect with everyone again. Working on a farm is a safe and healthy job to do this summer and it is cool to be in a place providing healthy safe work for young people.
To learn more about Saanich Organics and Seeds of the Revolution! visit their website or connect with them on Facebook @saanichorganics and Instagram @saanichorganics. Read more interviews from this series here.