SASKATOON – A local seed library, which once started as a small idea, has now sprouted into a popular event hosted at the Saskatoon Farmers’ Market.
“It works just like a library does, but instead of taking books out you take out seeds. We have six varieties of heirloom seeds that you can grow very well here. You save the seed and then you return it and other people grow your seed next year,” says Saskatoon seed library co-founder Karen Farmer.
Farmer says people need to be more aware of food and seed insecurity in Canada.
“You’ve probably heard of food insecurity, well we are seed insecure in Canada. We are importing most of our seeds. We have lost in the last one-hundred years ninety per cent of vegetable varieties in North America,” says Farmer.
The demand for locally sourced food in Saskatoon is blooming. There are forty CHEP community gardens throughout the city and five new sites opening this summer.
“There’s a huge demand. We probably have a waiting list of four-hundred gardeners who can’t get into a space,” says CHEP Good Food community garden coordinator Gord Androsoff.
According to Androsoff the increase in demand is due to a shift in thinking. People are now re-engaging with their food.
“For health, for cost and for the environment. I think the twenty and thirty years old are really seeing the benefits of local food,” says Androsoff.
The cultural re-emergence has led to projects like the Garden Patch on 3rd Avenue North, which help with local food security. Over 20,000 pounds of harvested fruits and vegetables are donated to the Saskatoon Food Bank each fall.
Currently eight per cent of Saskatchewan residents experience food insecurity.
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