|This article relies on references to primary sources. (July 2012)|
Seedy Sunday or Seedy Saturday is a catchphrase used for seed swap events that bring the public together with seed savers, to maintain and develop the open pollinated and heritage crop cultivars that are a resource in a community. In some communities the event is a gardening show or may feature local chefs using the heritage plants and seeds. The titles Seedy Saturday and Seedy Sunday are dedicated to the public domain by the event founder Sharon Rempel..
The heart of a Seedy Sunday or Seedy Saturday event is the swapping and sale of seeds or other propagation material for public-domain plant cultivars that that have been preserved or developed by individuals or families. These may not require high-input agriculture, and are variously described as landraces, folk varieties, farmer varieties and heritage seed. Sharing information about the social, cultural and culinary aspects of the seed is an important part of heritage seed saving around the world. Providing education about techniques for seed-saving, small-scale agriculture and horticulture, and about local, national and international laws that affect public-domain crop plants can also be an important part of the event.
In Canada, Seedy Saturdays and Seed Sundays continue to be grass-roots-organized events. Almost all of these events occur in the late winter, with a few in the autumn. In 2012 there were more than 100 events held in Canada. The first event was held in 1990, around Valentine's Day, because seed is the heart of food security for all communities.
Beginnings in Canada
The idea of conserving heritage varieties of garden and field crops was in its infancy in Canada in 1989. It was very difficult to find heritage varieties of vegetables, fruits, flowers and grains. The Heritage Seed Program of Canadian Organic Growers, now the independent charitable organization Seeds of Diversity, had started in 1984.
In 1988 Sharon Rempel, an agronomist working in British Columbia, wanted to find period-appropriate heritage vegetables,flowers and wheat for the 1880s heritage gardens she was growing at the Keremeos Grist Mill museum, the Abundant Life Seed Foundation] in Washington state was her sole source.
The first Seedy Saturday event was organized by Sharon Rempel. It was held at the VanDusen Botanical Garden in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, in spring 1990. Over 500 people came to hear talks about seeds, swap and buy seeds, and share their stories.
Participants and displays at that first meeting included small local seed companies selling open-pollinated seeds. Speakers included representatives from:
- USC Canada, which had at the time just started its project called Seeds of Survival which includes training people for on-farm plant conservation and plant breeding.
- The Heritage Wheat Project and the Red Fife wheat project.
- Keremeos Grist Mill.
Spread to other continents
The legal problems with food security are exacerbated in the European Union by national seed lists. If a vegetable cultivar is not on the national list it cannot legally be sold. To register and then maintain a seed on the list is prohibitively expensive, so only a few seeds make it onto the list. Those that do are selected on the basis of uniformity and handling quality of the produce.
The first Seedy Sunday in England was at Brighton. Events in Brighton and Hove have continued and attract visitors from all over the country. This success has also encouraged many others to establish Seedy Sundays.
- Seed swap
- Agricultural biodiversity
- Crop diversity
- Genetic diversity#Agricultural relevance
- Global Crop Diversity Trust
- Globally Important Agricultural Heritage Systems
- Judy Newman. "Seeds of Diversity website: In praise of Seedy Saturdays".
- "Seedy Sunday".
- "Seedy Sunday: Run Your Own".
- Rempel, Sharon (2008). Demeter's Wheats. Growing local food and Community with traditional wisdom and heritage seed. Grassroot Solutions, Victoria B.C. ISBN 9780968924839.
- "Seeds of Survival".
- "Health Action Network Society".