Seed is a crucial part of any sustainable agriculture initiative and BC is well-known for its small-scale seed growers and seed companies. Many new farmers have a strong interest in seed and this program gives them a chance to connect with experienced seed growers to build on their seed growing and farming knowledge. This program helps cultivate a new generation of vegetable seed growers while acknowledging the experience of our existing seed growing community.
The 2017 program is now underway for its third year so we are no longer accepting applicants. However, you can follow the progress of the mentorship as well as utilize the learning materials below:
2017 Seed Mentorship Newsletters:
Here are our 2017 Seed Mentorship participants:
Mentor: Mojave Kaplan, Lytton
Mojave, who is based in Lytton, has been producing seed for over 35 years. She can be found all over BC demonstrating seed saving and processing techniques with some of her favourite equipment! This is Mojave’s third year as a Mentor in the Seed Mentorship program!
Mentee: Daniela Basile, Kamloops
Daniela farms on 20 acres of certified organic land in Kamloops where they grow vegetables for sale to farmers markets, restaurants, and a local supermarket. She has been saving seed for ten years and has been engaged in seed sales for the past three years. She is hoping to improve her knowledge of seed production by working more closely with Mojave this season.
Mentor: Patrick Steiner, Kaslo
Patrick Steiner is a long-time seed grower and owner of Stellar Seeds, currently living in Kaslo. He has been involved in many Bauta projects over the past four years and is the author of Small-Scale Organic Seed Production – a great manual covering important topics around commercial seed production.
Mentees: David and Andrea Moore, Kaslo
David and Andrea also farm in Kaslo and have just moved to an 11-acre farm. They are hoping to take their experience food growers and add seed production with a particular interest in heirloom varieties. David previously worked with Wise Earth Farm in Kelowna – from where we have another Mentee this season!
Mentor: Jon Alcock, Kelowna
John has a wealth of experience growing an impressive range of seed crops with a particular interest in heirloom varieties and teaching skills to preserve genetic diversity in heritage seed. Sunshine Farm is deeply involved in the local community and Jon was a Mentor in our 2015 program.
Mentee: Brenda Patterson, Kelowna
Brenda Paterson farms at Wise Earth Farm in Kelowna where she has been growing organic vegetables for the past four years. The farm supplies restaurants and wineries; the Kelowna farmers market; and an online CSA program. She is interested in exploring how to successfully incorporate seed production into her farm operation and has a particular interest in tomatoes.
Mentor: Jim Grieshaber-Otto, Agassiz
Jim is a long-time grain grower with a special interest in ancient grains. He has been operating the Urban Grains CSA at his family-run 94-acre organic since 2009. Further to his farming work Jim is also growing wheat as part of the University of Manitoba’s Participatory Plant Breeding program.
Mentee: Foster Richardson, Cobble Hill
Foster Richardson is the coordinator for the new Cowichan Incubator Seed Farm in Duncan. He has been saving seed in some form for the past ten years. He has a particular interest in grains, pulses and cover crops and is looking at growing larger lots and exploring what equipment is needed for his scale.
Mentor: Sal Dominelli, Gabriola Island
Sal has been farming for 15 years and is the owner of Sweet Rock Farm Seeds, based on Gabriola Island. He can be found at many Seedy Saturdays on Vancouver Island and the Gulf Islands early in the year and at the Gabriola Farmers Market.
Mentee: Meg Curtis, Gabriola Island
Meagan is moving from garden-scale growing to farm-scale growing and wants to pursue a long-time dream of growing crops for seed. She currently farms in Port Alberni and on Gabriola Island and plans to grow sweet pepper seed, dill seed, bush bean, and Brussels sprout seed in the coming seasons. Meagan recently joined the BC Eco Seed Co-op to connect and learn from other seed growers and work with others to expand the sources and quantity of local seed.