Seed saving in Atlantic Canada: Sustainable food through sharing and education
Keywords:Seeds, seed saving, seed conservation, seed security, Atlantic Canada, sustainable food systems, social economy, informal economy
Seed saving is an important element of seed security. Seed saving can support biodiversity, nourish food systems, facilitate environmental education, and enable the creation of networks that support food sovereignty. Public interest in seed security is on the rise, but local resources and funding to support seed activities is limited. The survival of seed collections, libraries, banks, and farms depends on personal relationships within the seed community. While Atlantic Canada’s seed saving community is scattered geographically, it is tightly knit. Seed savers share knowledge, information, and tools, sometimes between competitor businesses. At times, information is shared between those with commercial interests, such as seed companies, and public events such as seed swaps, as individual success is contingent on the overall health of the seed system. In this field report, we synthesize findings from three case studies on seed saving in Atlantic Canada, which map regional seed activities, and detail the opportunities and challenges that such initiatives face. While Atlantic Canada has seen growth in the number and scale of both public and private seed saving initiatives, much work remains to be done. Nevertheless, the initiatives constitute a critical mass that can benefit from this assessment upon which future actions can be based.
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