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The BC Ecological and Organic Seed Sector and the Role of the UBC Farm Seed Hub 2015

The BC Ecological and Organic Seed Sector and the Role of the UBC Farm Seed Hub 2015
The BC Ecological and Organic Seed Sector and the Role of the UBC Farm Seed Hub 2015
The BC Ecological and Organic Seed Sector and the Role of the UBC Farm Seed Hub 2015
Author: Mel Sylvestre

Whether they are planted or consumed, seed is at the origin of our agricultural and food systems. Seeds carry the essence of the agricultural biodiversity responsible for food system resilience. Despite the importance of agrobiodiversity, 90% of the agricultural crop varieties have disappeared over the last century due to the increase of the industrial-type corporations’ control over seed systems (FAO, 2015). In response to this decline, there has been increasing efforts to build a strong global seed sovereignty movement with organizations such as Via Campesina (viacampesina.org) and Navdanya (navdanya.org) encouraging seed preservation and fighting to protect farmers’ rights to the millennium-old practice of seed saving (Shiva, 2012).

For local seed producers, this fight for seed sovereignty translates into producing quality seed in quantities large enough to support the local food system, maintaining cultivar performance in their respective regions, and encouraging other farmers to practice seed saving. Support beyond the political realm of seed saving is needed to sustain seed production practices. Organizations and networks across the world such as the Organic Seed Alliance in the United States have been developing programs to directly support seed producers’ needs. Closer to home in British Columbia, seed producers have been connected through either loosely-formed networks or more official organizations such as BC Seeds (bcseeds.org) to increase seed production capacity. Every year, new seed producers and stakeholders emerge in BC. Among them, a project based at UBC Farm called the Seed Hub was created in 2012.

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