When and why did you change your name from USC Canada to SeedChange?
USC Canada was an acronym for our original name, the Unitarian Service Committee of Canada. At one time, it was a household name for Canadians, but over the years, the name increasingly led to confusion. It did not reflect that we have been a secular organization (i.e. independent from the Unitarian Church) since 1948. It also did not reflect our current work with farmers and seeds.
In 2019, a few months ahead of our 75th anniversary, USC Canada’s Board of Directors decided to update the organization’s name. We selected the name “SeedChange” because it’s easier to remember, attractive to people of all ages, and it conveys our desire to invite others into our movement. It also provides a clear connection to our work with farmers and seeds, while still reflecting the organization’s long-standing goal since 1945— seeding positive change in the world.
Now that you are called SeedChange, will your work change?
No! Our name change does not reflect any substantial change in the way we work with partners, farmers and seeds. Our focus continues to be agroecology, food sovereignty and seeds, with the objective of helping farmers improve their livelihoods, nourish their communities, and preserve and enhance the seed diversity we need to adapt to climate change.
What’s the story behind your logo?
For our logo, we selected a simple wordmark of our name, written in bold, earthy orange letters, beside an abstract image of two furrows.
Our font has a classic and timeless look, fitting for our long history. We chose a reddish orange as our main colour because orange is the colour of change, and red is the colour of passion and action. It helps us stand out from most of the other organizations in our field, who tend to use greens and blues.
The icon next to our name represents two furrows as an abstract symbol of agriculture and the land that nourishes us all. We opted for a shorter furrow on the bottom and a longer one on top, to convey amplification and movement building. This is a visual reminder of the growing impact we can have collectively when we work together to seed change.
How much of my donation goes directly towards your programs with farmers?
Approximately $0.85 of every $1 donated to SeedChange goes to our overseas activities with farmers. The remaining money is used for advocacy campaigns in Canada, fundraising and administration. Institutional donors cover most of our Canadian seed security program costs. We strive to keep our administrative costs low and always well within the acceptable standards for charities as determined by the Canada Revenue Agency.
Can I still make out cheques to USC Canada or the Unitarian Service Committee of Canada?
Yes you can. Thank you! SeedChange retains the legal ability to receive funds under any of its previous names, in perpetuity.
I made provisions in my will to leave a legacy gift to the USC Foundation, the Unitarian Service Committee of Canada, or the Lotta Hitschmanova Legacy Fund. Do I need to update my will to SeedChange?
Thank you very much for your generosity. You do not need to change your will if you have already made provisions for a legacy gift to any of our previous names, or to the Lotta Hitschmanova Legacy Fund. We retain the legal ability to receive these gifts, and our charitable registration number has not changed.
Can I volunteer abroad with SeedChange?
Thank you for your interest, but we do not send staff or volunteers abroad. Our international programs are delivered by partner organizations and, occasionally, by staff hired locally. We do sometimes need volunteers in Canada for events or for office tasks. Please check our jobs / volunteers page for opportunities.
Can I offer my expertise to SeedChange as a volunteer or intern?
We are grateful for offers of help, even though we don’t always have the capacity to make use of them. We sometimes have short-term needs for help related to marketing, fundraising, awareness-raising kiosks, photography or videography, data entry, and prepping seed packets for people in the Ottawa area. If you are interested in these kinds of volunteering opportunities, please send your resume to firstname.lastname@example.org so we can contact you when the need arises.
Do you sell seeds? Can you send seeds abroad?
SeedChange is not a seed company, and we never send seeds abroad. Our work serves to help keep local seeds in farmers’ hands by supporting projects that strengthen local seed security—like seed breeding, seed saving and community-led seed banks— as well as by advocating for policies that respect farmers’ right to seed.
I am a Canadian farmer. Can I participate in your seed security work?
We hope so! Visit the website of our Canadian field program, The Bauta Initiative on Canadian Seed Security, for more information and to find your regional contact: seedsecurity.ca
How does SeedChange select its international partners and projects?
Outside of Canada, SeedChange works in rural areas of the Global South with some of the world’s most marginalized people. In these communities, small-scale agriculture is the main occupation and source of food.
Farmers in our programs tend to farm on small plots that are challenging to cultivate (e.g. dry climate, steep, high elevations, etc.) and incompatible with industrial agriculture practices. They face pervasive challenges like hunger, little access to credit or formal education, and the absence of paid work opportunities. Still, they are resilient and resourceful, and in our experience, they are keen to engage local seed security and food security projects through ecological farming. They see these as accessible and effective means to improve their communities’ diets and incomes, adapt to climate change, and empower themselves.
We always deliver our international programs in partnership because we strongly believe in local leadership and building the capacity of local civil society organizations to support their communities. Our decision to engage in a country or region rests on our ability to find a local partner organization that shares our values of food sovereignty, social justice and gender equality. These partners must also demonstrate capacity to deliver strong agroecology programs in local farming communities, with their full consent and participation. We must also be able to secure sufficient funding for the program.