Fava Beans. (Cassie Plotnikoff/Special to The Star)

Fava Beans. (Cassie Plotnikoff/Special to The Star)

Aldergrove seed cooperative trying to keep up with demanding market

Program urges local producers to grow more varieties of fruit and vegetable for seed use

While gardening season may have wound down by this time of year for most, BC Eco Seed Co-op works all year long in an effort to secure enough seed for farmers, gardeners, and even consumers.

The cooperative is made up of 17 farmers who provide BC grown, certified organic and ecological seeds grown on farms across the province.

David Catzel serves on the board of directors of Glorious Organics, a seed variety sector of Fraser Common Farm in Aldergrove.

He is also the BC Seed Program director with FarmFolk CityFolk, which leases land for seed education at Maple Lanes Farm on the Aldergrove/Abbotsford border.

He says his initiatives are all meant to generate production interest and availability in the local seed market.

“Every year, B.C. organic [and] ecological farmers spend $7.79 million on vegetable seeds, the highest of any region in Canada – but there is no large-scale vegetable seed production in BC,” Catzel explained.

For instance, Catzel noted that most farmers in the prairies are already growing seeds because of the types of crops there, but in B.C., because of the fruits and vegetables and specialty crops grown, he has to do more convincing to get people to also grow crops for seed use.

“B.C. is great for growing a lot of different varieties – it has a great climate and a lot of micro-climates for diversity,” he explained.

A reliance on imported seeds to meet demand, however, means that the seeds many people are using to plant their own crops and gardens are not local and perhaps not fit for the specific adaptations needed to grow in this area.

“We’re growing an average of 150 varieties which keeps seed varieties alive and thriving,” he said. “Having growers consistently grow and select seeds is also building climate resilience and crop adaptability.”

Catzel said the demand for local organic products is increasing, but the supply of local organic seeds is not keeping up – this is where the BC Eco Seed Co-op was created bringing together many small seed producers to produce seed and utilizing the co-op to take care of packaging, marketing, selling and shipping.

READ MORE: Aldergrove goes green on Wednesday, Nov. 4

That’s not all Catzel’s initiatives do either; training field days (currently hosted virtually due to COVID-19), plant breeding webinars, fundraisers, and even resource sharing that includes a mobile seed cleaning unit that makes its rounds across the province, are all part of what the co-operative does to connect B.C. growers.

“Three companies control 60 per cent of seed that farmers buy,” Catzel noted, “and we want to change that.”

He said local farm movements and branding like “buy local” and “buy BC” have helped seed variety production gain traction, but it’s only the beginning.

“People say if there are no farms there is no food. Well, if there’s no seeds, there’s no farms,” he said. “Gardeners can help by buying seeds produced locally. It’s not always easy to know what you are buying, but we hope to gain awareness and availability.”

BC Eco Seed Co-op held a crowd funding campaign through much of October and was able to raise $14,800 – just $200 short of their $15k goal.

People can donate www.wayblaze.com to help fund seed production projects or find more info at www.bcecoseedcoop.com.

_________________________________

Is there more to this story?

Email: ryan.uytdewilligen@aldergrovestar.com

Like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter

_________________________________

AgricultureAldergroveFarmingLangley

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Firefighters entered a property on 208th Street to fight a fire on Tuesday, April 13. (Matthew Claxton/Langley Advance Times)
Fire closes 208th Street north of 72nd Avenue in Willoughby

Firefighters were on scene Tuesday afternoon

Seven-year-old Aaliyah Rosa was found dead in an apartment in Langley in July, 2018. (Langley Advance Times files)
Judge to rule on final witness in Langley child murder trial

The trial of KerryAnn Lewis has lasted far longer than expected

Basmodi protest on Saturday, April 10 at Aldergrove Community Secondary School. (Special to The Star)
‘Basmodi Wave’ protesters in support of Indian farmers demonstrate at Aldergrove school

200 pairs of shoes were on display, one for every protester killed in India

Shannon Claypool, president of the Cloverdale Rodeo & Exhibition Association, stands outside the Cloverdale Rec. Centre. The rec. centre has been set up as a mass vaccination site by Fraser Health and the Association has decided to cancel the rodeo in order to offer the fairgrounds for public parking. (Submitted)
Cloverdale Rodeo cancelled

Fairgrounds to be used as public parking for mass vaccination site at Cloverdale Rec. Centre

10th-anniversary edition of Cruise for Your Cause will benefit Aldergrove and Langley food banks. (Special to The Star)
Three Langley-area food banks to be visited by convoy delivering donations

10th anniversary edition of Cruise for Your Cause happening Saturday, April 24

Burnaby MLA Raj Chouhan presides as Speaker of the B.C. legislature, which opened it spring session April 12 with a speech from the throne. THE CANADIAN PRESS
B.C. NDP promises more health care spending, business support in 2021 budget

John Horgan government to ‘carefully return to balanced budgets’

Protesters occupied a road leading to Fairy Creek Watershed near Port Renfrew. (Submitted photo)
B.C. First Nation says logging activist interference not welcome at Fairy Creek

Vancouver Island’s Pacheedaht concerned about increasing polarization over forestry activities

Flow Academy is not accepting membership applications from anybody who has received a dose of the vaccine, according to a password-protected membership application form. (Submitted image)
B.C. martial arts gym refusing patrons who have been vaccinated, wear masks

Interior Health has already issued a ticket to Flow Academy for non-compliance with public health orders

Of 46 arrests made between March 16 and 19 at Metrotown mall in Burnaby, 27 suspected shoplifters are now facing charges. (Twitter/Burnaby RCMP)
RCMP arrest 46 people in 4 days during Metrotown mall shoplifting crackdown

A total of $4,800 of stolen property was recovered and returned to businesses, including dozens of Tylenol and Advil merchandise

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Kao Macaulay has been charged in relation to a home break-in on March 30 in Abbotsford in which five kittens were stolen. (Facebook photo)
‘Prolific offender’ charged with theft of 5 newborn kittens in Abbotsford

Kao Macaulay, 23, is accused of breaking into home on March 30

Sheila Malcolmson, B.C.’s minister of mental health and addictions (Screen shot)
Minister of mental health tells Surrey audience COVID-19 ‘has made everything worse’

More than 23,000 people in B.C. are receiving medication to treat opioid addiction

Facebook screenshot of the sea lion on Holberg Road. (Greg Clarke Facebook video)
VIDEO: Sea lion randomly spotted on remote B.C. logging road

Greg Clarke was driving home on the Holberg Road April 12, when he saw a large sea lion.

Defence counsel for the accused entered two not guilty pleas by phone to Grand Forks Provincial Court Tuesday, Jan. 12. File photo
B.C. seafood company owner fined $25K for eating receipt, obstructing DFO inspection

Richmond company Tenshi Seafood is facing $75,000 in fines as decided March 4 by a provincial court judge

Most Read