Local, diverse veggie varieties part of food security, says seed group

SeedChange promoting wider use of local vegetable varieties, including in home gardens

SeedChange, a non-profit that works with farmers in Canada and around the world to save seeds and grow food sustainably, is launching a campaign for a more resilient post-pandemic food supply.

“It’s no secret that the coronavirus is impacting Canada’s food supply,” said Jane Rabinowicz, executive director of SeedChange. “COVID-19 has revealed the importance of being prepared for crisis, and we need to learn from this. And the time to start is now.”

The organization is enlisting more than 200 farmers across the country this summer to grow sustainable local vegetable seed crops, save seeds at risk of extinction, promote biodiversity, and breed new seed varieties best suited for local climate and soil conditions.

It is also encouraging Canadians to support local farmers and plant their own vegetable gardens.

This vegetable seed database lists several dozen types of vegetables (and a few heritage grains). Each type could have dozens of varieties, with some having more than 100. Each variety has a link to one or more suppliers and the database is searchable by region.
photo: www.seeds.ca/seedfinder

SeedChange and partner organizations have a SeedFinder database for those wanting to purchase locally adapted vegetable seeds from farmers in their region at seeds.ca/seedfinder.

The groups have been receiving hundreds of inquiries daily from the public, Rabinowicz said.

SeedChange, called the Unitarian Service Committee of Canada until last year, was founded in 1945 by Lotta Hitschmanova. She made the organization (and its Ottawa address — 56 Sparks St.) a household name in Canada with her radio and TV appeals for humanitarian aid. The organization now focuses on supporting small-scale farmers.

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