Welcome to the Seed and Plant Sanctuary for Canada
- We are a charitable organization dedicated to the health and vitality of the earth through the preservation and promotion of heritage seeds.
- We are committed to maintaining, evaluating and keeping records for all the edible, medicinal and useful crops that can be grown in Canada.
- We are a learning centre and network encouraging local food and seed production.
That is our mission since we started the Seed and Plant Sanctuary in 2002. We are making progress on all three intentions:
- We now have a large and diverse seed collection for most kinds of food and herbs housed in a proper storage building. We have many plant “custodians” across the county who tell us how the varieties do in their particular climates.
- We have over 900 varieties in our living gene bank. You can learn about any of these by clicking on the plant categories on the left.
- We are asked by many groups to share our experiences and we gladly follow through on our stated intention of helping other communities across Canada to grow their own seed banks.
Now in its 11th year, the Salt Spring’s Seed and Plant Sanctuary is becoming well known across Canada as a result of many newspaper articles, radio interviews and two feature films about the Sanctuary: Gardens of Destiny and Tableland. (Gardens of Destiny
is available from us for $20).
Why do we need Seed Sanctuaries?
Many things these days point to the looming importance of local food security. Soon we may no longer be able to take food for granted because of economic breakdown, environmental destruction and climate change.
The two most important keys to food security are local production and crop diversity. In these challenging times, we need to work together to keep the earth our Garden.
Our Sanctuary champions the idea that seeds should stay in the public domain. There are millions of ardent gardeners and farmers across Canada. From growing food, it is a small step to making educated choices about the best seeds to keep alive. Who better to shape agriculture than some of the farmers and gardeners who devote themselves to the land?
The Seed Sanctuary is changing the culture of food in Canada by promoting grass roots preservation of our seed heritage. We can work together so that growing food is less about making money and more about making health. A sustainable agriculture works with nature’s fertility and abundance. We can honour the carrying capacity of both city and country spaces by embracing safe and sustainable ways of feeding ourselves.
Start a New Community Seed Bank
Along with the many gardeners and farmers on Salt Spring Island who are growing out seeds for the Sanctuary, we also have several hundred Active Members across Canada. Their work is essential to see how varieties do in other parts of the country and through a lot of growing years. It is also crucial to have living gene banks elsewhere in case of crop failures, fires, floods or genetic contamination here on Salt Spring.
The idea of creating local seed sanctuaries similar to ours on Salt Spring is catching on across Canada. It is mostly a matter of getting together a few times a year and exchanging seeds and information about them. If community seed banks communicated with each other, we could create a truly national network grounded in local bioregions.
We would be most happy to come to your community to talk about our experiences here on Salt Spring Island.
In 2011, we started asking our members to help us bulk up some of the more important seeds in our collection as well as the varieties multiplied in previous years. We intend to make some of the bulk seeds from 2011 and 2012 available to the Seed Sanctuaries sprouting up across Canada. If you go to our Bulk Me Up page, you'll find the cultivars we are intending to bulk up this year as well as the varieties our members multiplied last year. Please let us know if you would like to help increase our quantities of the new Bulk Me Up cultivars or if your community seed bank would like some of the bulk seeds from 2011.
Salt Spring Sanctuary Society
PO Box 465, Ganges, Salt Spring Island, BC, V8K 2W1
Pauline Martens firstname.lastname@example.org
You can also join our mailing list if you want to receive irregular email updates.
Become a Member
You can become a supporting or active member of the Salt Spring Sanctuary Society. A supporting membership helps the Sanctuary out with important seed money.