Seed to Food

The Seed to Food program aims to salvage food from our Research and Education Seed Farm and redistribute it to people who need it most. The program works toward developing efficient and economically viable methods of seed extraction that keep food intact. We hope to demonstrate the viability of redirecting the by-product of food from seed production into new sales streams to encourage the development of BC’s seed industry.

This program was launched in the Summer of 2020 as a response to the growing demand for local produce and seeds in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. COVID-19 has exposed how large transportation distances and international restrictions disrupt the food supply and increase costs to consumers. BC is particularly vulnerable as we import the majority of our produce and vegetable seeds. More local food and seed production would increase BC’s food security, especially for our most vulnerable populations who don’t have the means to grow their own food or pay rising costs. 

Rescued Food from the Research and Education Seed Farm

In seed production, vegetables and fruits are often discarded after harvesting the seeds. This food can be redirected to feed people rather than being composted. The food from our farm can be categorized as a by-product of seed production, a by-product of variety trials and food destined for local donation. 

A proportion of the crops grown at our Farm can be harvested for both food and seed. For example, leafy greens of the biennial kale can be harvested in the first year and left to seed in the second. Tomatoes and squash seeds can be removed and the remainders turned into a soup or sauce. Cucumbers can be planted and sold for the first part of the summer, then left to mature to seed in the later part. We hope to demonstrate the possible duality of seed and food production.

Food is a by-product of the BC Seed trials and Citizen Seed trials that we conduct at ourResearch and Education Seed Farm. After our evaluation of the various fruit and vegetable varieties we are left with a bounty of produce that will now be donated as a result of the Seed to Food Program.

Project Goals

Make connections with community partners to get the food from our Farm to those who most need it.
Develop economically viable methods for Seed Producers to redirect their food by-products into potential new salestreams.
Educate farmers and citizens about seed saving best practices.

Program Collaborators

We are happy to be collaborating with FoodStash. This Vancouver based foundation aims to reduce the environmental impact of food waste and bridge the food insecurity gap within the community. They are graciously accepting produce from our seed farm and redistributing it to those in need.

Glorious Organics has supported the Seed to Food program with their generous donation of seedlings for us to grow for the program. This Co-op farm sells to restaurants, farmers markets, and through their CSA program. They sell their seeds through the BC Eco Seed Co-op.

Funding

The Seed to Food program is funded through the United Way Emergency Community Support Fund by the Government of Canada.