Blake Robbins

Blake Robbins

Seedy Saturday promotes seed diversification and sustainability

Seed exchange at the Castlegar and District Library kicks off summer growing season in the Kootenays.

Seed diversity is an important part of local and global food supply systems.

Seed exchanges are not a new idea but they are growing in popularity as more and more people focus on healthy-eating and regional environmental practices, largely seen as more sustainable than huge commercial systems of food production.

Blake Robbins, with the Foodtree Permaculture organization, organized the “Seedy Saturday” exchange April 6 at the Castlegar & District Public Library and had an extensive collection of seeds available.

He described one particular plant, Sea Buckthorn, as a “miracle plant” which is a nitrogen-fixer; pulling primary nutrients out of the atmosphere. The fruit of the plant is high in vitamin C.

Robbins said it’s the only plant he has seen that deer won’t eat.

Kylie Lichty, of Mountain Seed Co. in the Slocan Valley, also had a display set up with dozens of different varieties of seeds. Lichty said Mountain Seed Co. specializes in “heirloom open-pollinated” varieties.

Heirloom plants are typically not used in modern large-scale agriculture farming and Lichty said they are in excess of 50 years old.

She also spreads her seeds around to different geographical regions in the area to avoid cross-pollination.