Kingston’s biggest seed swap and purchase event returned last weekend after a three year hiatus due to the COVID-19 Pandemic.
The event held at St. Luke’s Church was smaller than Kingston Area Seed System Initiative (KASSI) was used to prior to the pandemic, but KASSI Chair Cathie Christie said it was great to have it back in person in any capacity.
“I just felt like we were together as a community and we were together with the seeds,” Christie said.
“It was a beautiful day.”
The event was scaled back, with just two local seed farms on hand in Verona’s Bear Root Gardens and Kitchen Table Seed House from Wolfe Island, along with Master Gardeners to give advice to those getting their hands on seeds.
It was hosted by KASSI along with their sister organization Ratinenhayénthos, who care for the Kenhteke Seed Sanctuary in Tyendinaga.
The two organizations are responsible for caring for and “growing out” seeds from the Heirloom Seed Sanctuary that were entrusted to them by the Sisters of Providence in 2019, and Seedy Saturday provides an opportunity to share some of those seeds.
Christie says doing this work is crucial to maintaining seeds that can thrive in their local environment and in achieving food sovereignty.
“It’s really important that we do that so that these seeds can continue to adapt and respond to the climate crisis that we’re experiencing now,” Christie said.
“We’ve got these amazing seeds that have adapted to our area.”
Saturday provided an opportunity for interested gardeners to purchase or make a donation for seed packets, or trade packets of their own with people on hand.
The space was packed throughout the day, and Christie said people who donated were very generous, with any proceeds being split by KASSI and Ratinenhayénthos to cover costs.
While Christie says their work with seeds is necessary right now, KASSI hopes through growing a seed sharing culture with events like Seedy Saturday their work will one day not be needed.
“We don’t see ourselves as a seed bank, we don’t want people to return seeds to us, we want them to share them,” Christie said.
“We would like to be obsolete, we would love it if these seeds were being grown everywhere.”