The people involved in the first stage of growing fresh and healthy British Columbia (B.C.) vegetables are getting some help to increase the amount of local food grown in our communities.

B.C. seed farmers will be able to expand their businesses through a comprehensive project that includes help in growing, processing, managing and marketing their products.

The not-for-profit organization, FarmFolk CityFolk, is leading a project to increase both the production capacity and customer base of seed farmers by:

  • developing a mobile seed processing unit to help small and mid-scale seed farmers efficiently and affordably process seed;
  • expanding seed production skills training in the Lower Mainland, Okanagan, Kootenays and North through focussed in-person training and webinars;
  • helping new entrants and small seed businesses with “Seed Enterprise Budgets” to plan and prepare for expenses, revenues and inventory management; and
  • supporting “Seedy Saturday” events in more communities, and developing shared resources that can be used across B.C.

B.C. is home to fifteen seed companies (including co-operatives) that sell B.C. grown seeds, as well as many community seed initiatives including over 50 “Seedy Saturdays” and 20 seed libraries. B.C. post-secondary education institutions are also active in seed trials and seed processing.

 

Quotes

“Our Government is proud to support this project, which will help agricultural producers process more seeds. Providing B.C. vegetable seed producers the tools they need to increase their production capacity and customer base will create new opportunities for them and contribute to growing the economy, while supporting well-paying middle class jobs for Canadians.”

– Lawrence MacAulay, Federal Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food

“Seeds may be small, but nothing is more important to agriculture than the life they contain. Seeds are the beginning of so much of our food supply and are absolutely critical to our personal health and the food security of our province. That’s why I am so proud to announce new funding to help diversify and increase seed production and processing in the province, supporting 15 seed businesses and 50 Seedy Saturdays, as well as the creation of resources and tools that promote seed growing, exchanges and 20 seed libraries throughout B.C.”

– Lana Popham, B.C. Minister of Agriculture

“The mobile seed unit is a unique shared infrastructure project which arose from seed grower feedback that without proper equipment it was hard to scale up production. The mobile unit will provide seed growers with several seed cleaning tools to help them scale up production and processing capacity. If proven effective, the unit can act as a model for permanent seed cleaning facilities at strategic sites across B.C. Further, the unit will be an effective outreach tool at agricultural events and conferences around B.C.”

– Chris Thoreau, BC Seed Security Program Coordinator, FarmFolk CityFolk

“As a small-scale seed producer also growing fresh market crops, having access to a mobile seed processing unit will help increase our production capacity. Many of the equipment needed to clean seeds efficiently are too expensive or hard to secure at our scale. The mobile seed processing unit will allow us to grow larger quantities of seed crops without having to upgrade our current processing set up. Seed production is an emerging sector in B.C. and we still have so much to learn in order to develop the right techniques and processes adapted to our regions and scales. For that reason, I am looking forward to the educational opportunity offer through this program.”

– Mel Sylvestre, UBC Farm Seed Hub coordinator and BC Eco Seed Co-op member

Quick facts

  • FarmFolk CityFolk is receiving up to $100,000 over the next two years in funding from the Governments of Canada and B.C. through the Canadian Agricultural Partnership.
  • The five-year, $3-billion Canadian Agricultural Partnership, launched on April 1, 2018, includes $2 billion in cost-shared strategic initiatives delivered by the provinces and territories, and $1 billion for federal programs and services.