2020-07-08

Value of seed production amplifies during pandemic

by Keith Corcoran

  • <p>A screen grab of a portion of the Yonder Hill Farm home web page.</p>

The ongoing coronavirus pandemic has raised the profile of the value of local farmers and importance of food security.

Workforce challenges impacted processing plants and supermarkets imposed temporary restrictions on purchases. A non-profit group, SeedChange, along with partners such as Lunenburg County-based Yonder Hill Farm, are talking about the positive impact of producing or purchasing local seeds in aiding a self-sufficient food supply.

Chris Sanford and her spouse, Garrett, run Yonder Hill Farm, off Woodworth Road in Laconia.

Food and seed security gets a profile, Sanford suggested, especially when global supplies of certain amenities are disrupted.

"We get a lot of feedback from our customers who're really appreciative of the advice and education we give about growing things and saving seeds," Sanford said. "We are learning more and more about how important it is to do what we're doing."

There are some animals on the 81 hectare farm, which also has orchard and pasture, and a percentage of property is delegated for growing of vegetables, herbs, and small grains. The focus is on seed production, something Sanford's been doing commercially since 2009.

"Our commitment is to working with rare varieties and trying to help preserve certain varieties that are pretty rare and special," she explained to LighthouseNOW.

Yonder Hill Farm works with over 150 seed varieties. The farm's seeds produce squash, greens such as Tancook Island cabbage, tomatoes, and other items.

"We only sell seeds we produce ourselves," Sanford added. "We also grow ecologically, without any synthetic chemicals or fertilizers."

More information about the farm and its operations can be found at www.yonderhillfarm.ca on the internet.

"We know they're fresh," Sanford explained, referring to the seeds, "and we're really passionate about helping people grow their own food. Starting with good seed is key to having success."

Meanwhile, SeedChange, the non-profit that works with farmers in this country and abroad, offered the chat with Yonder Hill Farm as part of a public education campaign to help ensure a more resilient Canadian food supply post-COVID-19.

To learn more about SeedChange, visit www.weseedchange.org on the internet.

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