In the news | Food security starts with seed security, say Canadian seed producers

May 29, 2020

When the pandemic hit, many of us had the same reflex: reach for seeds.

Food security starts with seed security, say Canadian seed producers. Peggy Baillie is one of those seed producers. She holds out a handful of tomatoes.
Peggy Baillie of Three Forks Farms, holds one of the varieties of tomatoes available at her farm. (Three Forks Farms)

Luckily, local seed producers across the country were ready to respond.

Earlier this month, Jane Rabinowicz, our executive director, did a media blitz with seed farmers to share a simple message: food security starts with seed security. We’ve gathered up a selection of the news stories for your reading, watching and listening pleasure. Every farmer in the stories below is a participant in our Canadian field program!

Saltwire Network | Seeds are the new toilet paper

“COVID-19 has demonstrated to us that we’re not in a good position when disasters strike with our seed availability,” says Steph Hughes, our Atlantic Canada program manager. But there are seed farmers changing this. Meet two of them: Stephanie Warr from Twisted Brook and Owen Bridge from Annapolis Seeds!

The Guardian | “We shouldn’t rely on a big food system to provide us with food”

“People have been saving seeds since the beginning of agriculture, but in the last so many years, big seed companies have taken over.” This P.E.I. farmer, Tina Davies from Emmerdale Eden Farm, is helping remedy this – one seed at a time.

Northern Ontario Business | Locally adapted seeds are a key part of the food security puzzle

“If we regionally produce seed, it will actually produce better than imported seeds, because it’s adapted to the climate, it’s adapted to the conditions, and the way we like to grow,” says Peggy Baillie of Three Forks Farms.

TB Newswatch | Boosting our vegetable seed supply

Evalisa McIllfaterick of Root Cellar Gardens in Thunder Bay discusses the importance of seed security and locally adapted crops in this article.

Vancouver Sun | It’s no secret that the coronavirus is impacting Canada’s food supply

Some real talk about seeds Jane, our ED: “COVID-19 has revealed the importance of being prepared for crisis, and we need to learn from this and increase seed production to improve our country’s food security – and the time to start is now.”

CBC Radio Ottawa | Sowing food security in Canada

Seed farmer Dan Brisebois, and Jane, our ED, spoke with CBC’s All in a Day about working with farmers to grow Canada’s seed security—and why this work is especially important during a crisis like the one we’re in now. Podcast | Plant a seed, plant some hope

Chris Sanford, from Yonder Hill Farm, and Jane spoke on rabble’s podcast about the huge uptick in home gardeners looking to plant seeds. Bonus: Chris explains how to save tomato seeds… and it involves rotten tomato goop.

Alberta Farm Express | Local, diverse veggie varieties part of food security

This summer, we’re working with more than 200 farmers across the country growing sustainable local vegetable seed crops, saving seeds at risk of extinction, promoting biodiversity, and breeding new seed varieties best suited for local climate and soil conditions.

CBC News | “Over the last 100 years, more seeds have come to be more controlled by fewer hands”

Peggy at Three Forks Farm, breeds new seed varieties best suited for local climate and soil conditions. The work is farmer-led, so the seed diversity that results from it is available to farmers—not controlled by multinational corporations.

Food security starts with seed security, say Canadian seed producers. Jane Rabinowicz sits in a chair smiling at the camera.

Kitchener Today | We need homegrown seeds

Many people don’t know that the vast majority of vegetable seeds that are planted on farms across the country are imported. This puts Canada in a bad position during crises, and puts our food security in jeopardy.

WeDoSomething Montreal | Creating better food systems post-COVID-19

“COVID-19 is a dry-run for climate change… Through this crisis we have seen where the vulnerabilities in our food system are, and we have an opportunity to address them,” says our executive director, Jane Rabinowicz.

Manitoba Cooperator | A more stable food system starts with greater access to seed

We’ve all seen how COVID-19 has impacted our food system. Farmers have been forced to dump product while grocery store shelves have sat empty as distribution systems struggle to adjust. We need to build more resilient food systems, says our ED, Jane Rabinowicz.

This pandemic has reinforced that food security starts with seed security, say Canadian seed producers. Since 2012, SeedChange has helped farmers in Canada push back against corporate control over seeds, by growing local seeds. It’s thanks to them that gardeners have been able to find good seeds this spring.

We’re really proud of these farmers for getting recognition for their hard work. If their stories resonate with you, you can keep the recognition going by sharing them on social media.