Living at RVA, I became the master of the seeds, thanks to Tessa’s dedication to teach me all about them! And I’m so happy about it!!! Seeds are fantastic! These little dry insignificant beads can give life to your lettuce, tomatoes or even mango tree!!! Can you imagine?

Because building gardens for people is nice, but not sufficient to keep them alive on the long-term, we needed to teach the home-garden owners how to collect, store and plant seeds. So we invited them over to RVA and I prepared a little class to help them become seeds self-sufficient!

Do you know why it’s really important to save seeds? Let’s hear a little bit of history…

About 10000 years ago, Man became almost strictly sedentary and abandoned the nomadic “hunter-gatherer” lifestyle through the introduction of full-time agriculture. Farming slowly evolved up till the last century. Until the 1900s, about 50% of the world population were farmers. People saved their own seeds and all farmers depended on the seeds they and their neighbors saved to plant next year’s crop.

Today’s Vegetables evolved from wild plants, that are adapted to the climate, tasty, easy to harvest, and that survived diseases and pests. Heirloom seeds have been handed down from generation to generation. These varieties are our vegetable heritage – a vital inheritance that we can grow in our garden. In the 1800s, the first seed companies were created, to “simplify” the life of farmers and since then we lost of about 75% of plants varieties.

After the 1st and 2nd World wars, the Seeds companies made deals with the chemical companies to start selling chemical fertilizers and pesticides to farmers. This not only harmed the soils, the insects, and animals but also the humans. Once you are caught up in the circle of buying seeds, then you need the fertilizer that will help them grow better and the pesticide that will keep the bad bugs away! And it can take some time to restore the life in the soil that will help you produce naturally!

That’s why it’s time to start saving your own seeds and planting a wide variety of plants to help preserve the biodiversity. When you harvest and save your own seeds, year after year the plants can adapt to the climate and to a now fast changing climate – hot, dry, heavy rains… Saving seeds allow the farmers and gardeners to become INDEPENDENT from seed companies, and from chemical companies.

Of course, there is much more to the story and I oversimplified a little, but we have the basis! So, starting from there, we had a little quiz to check if everyone could identify the different types of seeds on the table. And we took a tour of the garden to see if we could identify the different plants and how the seeds are formed! What an adventure. I know quite a bit about seeds, but most people here have farmed for a long time and it’s a bit pretentious to think I can teach them much! But still, what a great feedback, when Valerie, Daleen, and others came to tell me that they had learned a lot 🙂 My mission was to pass a message of independence across to them and I think I managed 🙂

The last part of the workshop consisted in recognizing the seedlings around the greenhouse, and gathering a tray each to plant in their garden 🙂 How much laughter and fun that was! I really enjoyed giving this class and I hope I get to give more!

Photo Credit: Flor and Simon.