Craig Evans and Jen Cody of Growing Opportunities Coop led the sessions. The morning was a review of techniques and considerations for producing quality seed and some group discussion about issues and solutions.
After lunch, Jane Rabinowicz gave an overview of USC’s National Seed Initiative and how that project may unfold over the next 4 years.
In the afternoon discussion was around next steps for the Central Island Seed Savers. The group identified several issues. There is a lot of uncertainty around climate change and food security and some thought that our seed needs should be aimed more at our food needs–what do we need to eat, how can we make a more local diet. Vegetable oils, carbohydrates, proteins should take priority–vegetables can be grown almost anywhere. There’s an obvious divide amongst urban gardeners and local food producers. How do we service and include both groups? Perhaps small urban growers and gardeners could be growing seed for local farmers rather than the other way around.
Labour and production expenses are an issue for many who are trying to bulk up their production. It was noted that 50 years ago small farms would have their own seed cleaning equipment. Today, equipment is hard to come by and, In general, the infrastructure doesn’t exist in most communities.
There was extensive discussion about the development and use of GMOs and how this may effect our seed supply. For many in the room, this is identified as the biggest threat to our domestic seed supply.