For over 10 years we have been working closely with vegetable seed growers and seed companies across BC and are a regional partner for the Bauta Family Initiative on Canadian Seed Security. We deliver workshops, field days and conduct research with a long-term vision of a thriving ecological seed sector in BC that produces high-quality seed crops at a commercial scale.
We believe in collaboration and are working with a wide range of partners from farmers to educational institutions to advance the ecological, economic, and community aspects of seed production.
Collaborators include the University of British Columbia, Kwantlen Polytechnic University, the University of the Fraser Valley, the BC Eco Seed Co-op and a network of farmers across BC and Canada.
While the BC Seeds program works with a wide range of farmers and collaborators throughout BC, it is made up of a core staff team from FarmFolk CityFolk.
Chris Thoreau, Seed Security Program Director, has been engaged in small-scale organic food production since 2001 as a farmer, educator, program manager, and advocate. Chris has been based in Vancouver, BC since 2008 where he attended the University of British Columbia’s Agroecology program. He received his B. Sc. (Hons) in 2011, focusing his studies on urban farming, soil management, and small-scale plant breeding. He currently manages the Vancouver Food Pedalers Cooperative.
Keeley Nixon, Seed Security Program Coordinator, has been involved in sustainable and regenerative agriculture since moving to coastal BC from the Northern Interior in 2001. As a farmer and food security organizer she’s spent over a decade with her hands in the soil and heart in the community working with food & farm organizations in BC and across Canada. Doing behind the scenes work to build resiliency through all aspects of the seed sector, land access and strengthening community process and organizing is what fuels her fire. She brings her experience with countless non-profits, passion for seed growing, good design, community engagement and general joie de vivre to all that she does.
Char Friesen, FFCF Seed Farm Head Farmer, was raised in Southwestern Ontario on a fourth-generation, family farm. Animal husbandry, growing crops, and tending to a large garden where the majority of the family’s food was grown was a way of life. After working in several different jobs/industries, she recognized her passion was farming, and particularly growing food. Char has managed and operated production on agriculture endeavors of all sizes, in both Ontario and BC, from large-scale production farms, to market garden operations, to backyard gardens, prepping garden plots and building raised beds – getting friends and family enthused about growing their own food. Most recently, managing various projects and working at Maple Lane Farms in Abbotsford, the opportunity to work with Farm Folk City Folk presented itself and she is looking forward to being a part of the Seed Farm and expanding her experience.
Tara Bishop, Seed Security Program Assistant Intern, is a recent graduate of Queen’s University with a BScH in Life Sciences. She has been a backyard gardener from a young age, but her interest in sustainable agriculture and food security grew while working on an farm in Haiti (Bonne Terre Haiti) and getting involved with food and environmental clubs at Queen’s University, such as Soul Food. She is excited to be with the BC Seeds/FarmFolk CityFolk team in order to learn more about the all-important issues regarding seed security, and has already learned a lot! She hopes to pursue a degree in law and continue to work with non-profits and sustainable agriculture organizations.
Carla Hick, Seed Security Program Assistant, is a Red Seal Chef, has a BSc in Agroecology and has also earned certifications in Organic Vegetable Seed Production and Permaculture Design. She is very passionate about food whereby holding a holistic philosophy of food. A seed-to-table-to-soil perspective provides a systems thinking and bottom-up approach to improving food-related issues. Carla has been working with the BC Seed Trials project for 2 years and has now officially moved to the FarmFolk CityFolk team to pursue wider seed security initiatives. She is particularly excited to amalgamate her knowledge, training and experience to affect positive change in the agricultural sector, particularly in the realm of seed security.