Plant preservationists gear up for Seedy Saturday

by Gayle Wilson

  • <p>FACEBOOK, PHOTO</p><p>Last February&#8217;s Seedy Saturday event drew more than 500 people to the DesBrisay Museum in Bridgewater.</p>

In terms of the weather, it may be a frightful February, but thoughts of spring are on the minds of many, as organizers and participants gear up for the 14th annual Seedy Saturday. The event takes place at the Holy Trinity Anglican Church in Bridgewater February 15.

Last year 's round of seed swapping drew more than 500 people to the DesBrisay Museum, where it was held, according to Margo Symons. Symons works as the land steward at Helping Nature Heal Inc. of Bridgewater, which represents the national Seeds of Diversity organization.

She told LighthouseNOW she had "no idea" how many people will be attending this year's event. "It's a drop-in kind of thing."

However, organizers are anticipating enough of a crowd to change the venue from the museum. Symons reported it was "shoulder to shoulder. So we've chosen to go to a larger venue which allows maybe a bit better circulation and a bigger space for speakers also."

There is a roster of speakers lined up. Bear Cove Resources, which deals with compost material made from seaweed, is on the list. So is Kirk Symonds, an educator from Region 6 Solid Waste Management, who is giving a talk called Turning Food Scraps into Garden Gold. And Chris Sanford of Yonder Hill Farm in Laconia, Lunenburg County, will be back to give another talk.

"It will be called Yonder Hill Farm Seed Saving Start to Finish," Sanford said, adding that it will describe their processes for seed growing. Sanford and her husband, Garrett, have been growing seeds commercially since 2009 and now produce more than 150 varieties for wholesale and retail.

"We use the term ecologically grown or naturally grown," Sanford explained. Although the seeds are not certified organic, they are grown without "with organic amendments, no spraying."

Yonder Hill deals in vegetable, herb, flower and grain seeds. Among them are heirloom seeds, including a variety of lettuce that former U.S. President Thomas Jefferson grew, and the original Tancook Island cabbage. The importance of preserving and sharing locally grown seeds has been central to the event, which is coordinated by Rosemarie Lohnes, the president and CEO of Helping Nature Heal.

In bringing together local farmers and other vendors, the idea is to show that people locally shouldn't have to rely on distant commercial farms for food security.

"We are encouraging people to grow their own food and save and share seeds for next year's plantings. If we all did this we'd always have access to safe and clean food, food free of chemicals," Lohnes commented to LighthouseNOW last year.

As with other years, Fancy Pants Cafe will prepare and serve lunch, while the LaHave Bakery is offering a selection of breads. Organizers have also received donations from Bridgewater Farmers' Coop, Gow's Home Hardware, Kitchen Witch and Helping Nature Heal.

Among the vendors will be Bridgewater Garden Club, Region 6 Waste Management, Mersey Tobiatic Research Institute, Seeds of Diversity, Yonder Hill Farm, Bear Cove Resources, Seeds and Scarecrow Farm, Sacred Garden Farm, and Annapolis Seeds.

The event is open to the public with free entrance based on a donation to the Bridgewater Inter-Church Food Bank and runs from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

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