About Us


about

Welcome to Backyard Seed Savers, where we cultivate both the Art and Science of Seed Conservation and Resilient Food Systems. We are Seeding Change, one garden at a time.

Our Mission

Our mission is to Seed Resilient Food Systems that nourish both people and the planet, and strengthen communities. Using agroecological approaches to cultivating food and seed conservation, our work is rooted in science, promotes farmers’ knowledge, and is inclusive of diverse ways of knowing.

About Backyard Seed Savers 

We started Backyard Seed Savers in 2013 as an effort to connect with others who were interested in sustainable farming and to share knowledge about locally adapted, rare, and diverse plant varieties and their conservation. As recent graduates of Plant and Agricultural Sciences, we were eager to do our part to help address some of the most urgent problems exacerbated by industrial agriculture: environmental degradation and climate change, diminishing biodiversity, and the health and safety of food and communities.

While studying Plant Breeding, Agroecology, and International Development across both the natural and social sciences – and saving seeds across 11 community gardens and in our backyard – we honed our expertise in Agroecological farming and our commitment to food justice.

What We Do

What began as a bottom-up initiative to bring together seed savers and those interested in seeds and food justice issues across diverse communities, has evolved into an expanded business offering, combining our passions and unique skill sets to offer a diverse range of products and services, including:

  • Seed Saving
  • an ever-expanding collection of Garden Seeds and Seed Gifts;
  • resources on Agroecological Farming;
  • installation and maintenance of Edible Landscapes and Farmscapes;
  • an Agroecology Research Action hub, which offers Research Consulting, Technical Writing, and Educational resources. It is our long-term goal to expand our Agroecology Research Action hub to combine both a farmer-to-farmer approach to seed conservation research and education, with the purpose of protecting and making publically available locally adapted, rare, and diverse plant genetic resources across Canada.

Seeding Change for Resilient Food Systems and Communities

We join a growing number of citizens, scholars, farmers, Indigenous peoples, and activists who are concerned about the negative impacts of industrial agriculture on people and the planet.

With its increasing reliance on genetically modified crops, monocultures, synthetic fertilizers and pesticides – industrial agriculture has left an array of damaging impacts on soil, air, water, human health, and communities across the globe.

It has concentrated agricultural capital, including the global genetic resources of plants and animals. It has made food, natural resources, and agricultural labour globalized commodities. It has diminished biodiversity and our ability to adapt to climate change. It has changed our vital connection to food and the land which sustains us.

The future of food and agriculture will depend on cultivating resilient food systems and communities – those that:

  • support the growth of a diversity of healthy foods, people, and livelihoods;
  • remove barriers to accessing and controlling food and natural resources needed to survive;
  • value and conserve natural resources, including plant and animal life;
  • work to dismantle structural racism, patriarchy, oppression, and inequality;
  • work toward achieving Food Sovereignty.

Resilient food systems and communities are those that are adapted and equipped to handle a wide array of environmental and social conditions that may otherwise jeopardize access to quality food and natural resources, making it difficult to secure livelihoods and wellbeing.  By localizing food systems and putting the control of food, seeds, biodiversity, and know-how into the hands of local producers, citizens, and consumers, communities become self reliant and are better able to withstand environmental stresses, the effects of climate change, and fluctuations in global markets.

Our Approach – The Art and Science of Seed Conservation and Resilient Food Systems

An alternative to industrial agriculture is small-scale agroecology. As a science, it is a discipline that has studied and expanded the knowledge of agroecosystems – an integrative approach that considers ecological, socio-economic and cultural variables to deliver contextualized solutions to local problems. As a movement, it empowers small-scale farmers and communities as agents of change. As an agricultural practice, it combines the traditional, practical, and local knowledge of producers with technologies and scientific tools to achieve sustainable agriculture.

The scientific aspects we emphasize through Agroecology:

  • Site appropriate strategies that balance nutrient and energy flows within the surrounding ecosystem;
  • Improving soil health and fertility by increasing organic matter and balancing the available carbon to nitrogen ratio;
  • Minimizing disturbance to the soil web community by mulching, hand weeding, and low-till when needed;
  • Closing nutrient cycles to minimize inputs and adverse environmental impacts;
  • Choosing diverse plants and crops that are suited to the particular environment, minimizing inputs and maintenance requirements;
  • Practicing intercropping and diverse crop rotations;
  • Using Integrated Pest Management approaches including biological controls, hand weeding, compost teas, and organic implements.
  • Cover-cropping and green manure.

We work in collaboration with academics and practitioners in the areas of: ecology; horticulture; organic agriculture; cultural anthropology; development sociology; international development; genetics and plant breeding; agroecology; and food justice movements. This interdisciplinary initiative brings together local and international partners with diverse strengths in applied research, and across three tenets of Agroecology – as a science, as a movement, and as a practice. Not only do we bring our expertise in both arts and sciences, we bring to this initiative our deep passions for resilient seeds, food systems, and communities.

We recognize that these goals are ambitious, but we know that transformational change often happens in increments and even small-scale endeavours can make a difference. We stand with others around the globe who share a common goal in Seeding Resilient Food Systems and Communities. Join us!

 

© Backyard Seed Savers 2013-2018. All rights reserved.