SUMMERSIDE, P.E.I. - Spring is just around the corner and many eager gardeners are already doing their own spadework to harvest high quality seeds and exchange them for different local varieties at the Summerside Rotary Library Inspire Learning Centre, on Sunday afternoon.
The event, Seedy Sunday is an opportunity for those with green fingers to gather under one roof, share the dirt on growing vegetables and fruit, while participating in a sustainable practice.
“My wife and I use to sell vegetables grown from seeds at the Farmers Market in Summerside, as well as on the roadside. We sold everything from asparagus to zucchini, you name it, we did them all with Rural Roots,” said Gerry Reichheld, who brought along his paprika seeds to the event.
“I grew up on a farm in Ontario and then we moved to P.E.I., so gardening has always been in my blood,” he continued. “My wife and I are organic growers and we believe that the gardener is only as good as the food he eats.
“For us we wanted to grow the vegetables that we would eat, so we knew where they were from, how they were grown, and that they were nutritious.”
Funded by the Atlantic Canadian Organic Regional Network (ACORN), Summerisde library will offer the public a collection of seeds, located on the ground floor, where anyone can borrow small quantities to grow.
“People can come in through the spring and summer and get free seed packets with the hope that in fall they will bring back seeds harvested from the plants grown. Resources will also be available on how to grow the seeds,” explained Tina Davis, the organizer.
“We will grow the seed library and teach people to grow their own food, so the Maritimes can have their own food sovereignty,” she added.
The small-scale seed operation will focus on education, outreach and community building while running on volunteer power.
“It’s very exciting, and nationwide the Bauta Foundation gave a huge donation for seed libraries. Proceeds go to train people, like me, the proper ways to save seeds, as well as teach others in the community the wisdom and knowledge of farmers.
“Through the Bauta Foundation we’ve been able to get seed cleaning equipment, so that we can properly process them. They have sent us on workshops and to other big seed companies in the United States, so we can learn how to use this equipment,” concluded Davis.
For anyone in need of gardening tips, Richheld will dish the dirt with a question and answer session in the Summerside Rotary Library Inspire Learning Centre on Saturday, April 7 from 2 to 4 p.m.