Final Seed Mentee Blog – Sahar Zandieh

Final Seed Mentee Blog – Sahar Zandieh

The snow is finally melting and the cover crop sown so many months back is visible again; the pea, oat, vetch, and triticale shoots are still flattened from the weight of the snow, but eager to stand tall again soon, I’m sure.

Thinking back on the past growing season, I’m grateful for what seed-related work that I was able to tag along for. Highlights included time on the UBC Farm tending to seed crops and observing the Seed Trials, the seed production workshop with John Navazio, seed saving tours with youth at the Farm, and attending a BC Eco Seed Coop meeting in November.

It’s always a pleasure spending time at the UBC Farm, and being there more consistently this season allowed me to better observe seed crops over the course of the season. It’s amazing watching crops enter seed production, and witnessing a stage in their growth cycle that I typically wouldn’t see. There’s nothing quite like a long row of flowering alliums, or fiery chard setting seed on tall stalks. But my favourite area was probably the mosaic of kale growing in one of the lower field, as part of the comparative trials being conducted. It’s rare to see so many varieties being grown in one place, let alone in such systematically planned replicates— honestly if you saw it from above, I think it would look like a perfect quilt of kale. We should have borrowed a drone! 😉 Anyhow, it was a beautiful thing to see so many varieties growing side by side, and to be able to observe their similarities and differences, strengths and weaknesses. There’s so much happening at the UBC Farm, and Mel is doing such wonderful seed saving work, now with Alex Lyon’s inspiring research as well— I’m excited to see how things evolve.

It was also great to attend a meeting with the BC Eco-Seed Co-op in Nanaimo, in late November. I was happy to be able to sit and take it all in; meeting members of the co-op who are growing for seed around BC. It was great hearing their thoughts around how the co-op might move forward, in particular around how to market the seeds. The concern and hope to provide farmers with the necessary quantities of locally grown/adapted seed is one I hadn’t considered, and I’m excited to see how things evolve, and if I’m able to contribute.

It was a great season, and while I wasn’t able to focus on a particular crop and work with it closely from seeds to cleaning, I’m glad for the opportunities to engage with seeds on the Farm, and with seed savers at various workshops and meetings.

Thank you to everyone for sharing their experiences and learning.

Best,
Sahar

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