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We were inspired by Vandana’s passionate fight to preserve heritage seeds, protecting small farmers who rely on the renewal of their seeds year after year, often times fighting off GMOs (genetically modified organisms) from large corporations.

In Canada, there’s a rally to support Bill C-474, which would support Canadian farmers by requiring that “an analysis of potential harm to export markets be conducted before the sale of any new genetically engineered seed is permitted.”

The bill would stop GE (genetically engineered) wheat and alfalfa from being produced, because it cannot be sold in certain markets, such as those in Europe, which are world leaders in banning GE products.

It’s timely, then, that we get to hear from Bob Wildfong, Executive Director of Seeds of Diversity Canada, who recognizes the importance of keeping seeds local, natural and diverse. Feeling inspired? Plant the seed in your local community.

By Bob Wildfong
Seeds of Diversity Canada

We have to take notice that there’s a crucial missing piece in the growing local food movement. It makes sense to grow our food close to home, but we also need to grow our seeds close to home.

Just after World War 2, there was a strong desire to create domestic self-sufficiency because people remembered bad times when they couldn’t get food across borders and worldwide shipping was disrupted. Our federal government spent millions of dollars developing Canadian-bred varieties of fruits and vegetables, but most of those are now just relegated to seed banks.

During the past 50 years, our food system has shifted to a massive export-import system and seed production has globalized too.

Now, most of the seed varieties that are sold and grown in Canada are actually bred and produced in other parts of the world. Canadian varieties are not easy to find, because we’re too small a market in the global wholesale system. So our local food is mostly grown of non-local varieties.

We can support Canadian local food and local seeds by supporting Canadian seed growers, home-grown Canadian seed companies, and rekindling our identity as a land of abundant food choices. See a complete list of Canadian seed companies, and the fruit and vegetable varieties that they sell at www.seeds.ca

– Bob Wildfong, Executive Director, Seeds of Diversity Canada

www.seeds.ca
www.semences.ca

Remember – in the battle to save the planet, you can plant the first seed: Share your story of how you’re planting seeds for change in your community, by entering our contest, and you’ll be eligible to win a prize, including being featured on TV as our next GreenHero! Contest details and more information can be found here.

By Talia Erlich

Environmental Artist

I’ve been working for the environment using art for two decades now, and I often design interactive installations or events (such as the Toronto Tree Festival) to ‘seed’ ecological consciousness or ‘bloom’ a green organization.

My ‘SEED ANGEL’ performance piece for Vandana Shivawas a call to visually represent and to honour the international green hero.

I first heard of Vandana Shiva through my work with Seeds of Diversity Canada (stay tuned for a blog post from its director!). I learned to appreciate the value of the ‘small stuff’ and people like Dr. Shiva who have been on the deck of a modern day Noah’s Ark story.

Until recently, only a few thousand people here in Canada understood the threat to food security, amongst other things, and have been heroically saving heirloom and rare seeds. They have effectively been a living gene bank for the rest of us.

Maintaining the right to save and share seeds has also been an ongoing struggle as agri-business and genetically modified technologies vie for market share and patents around the world. Advocates from across the environmental spectrum recognize the value and dangers if the people lose this basic right.

For a long while I’d been dreaming of a contemporary version of the ancient rite of seed sowing, so this was an opportunity to try a small gesture and also thank one of the giants of the seed-saving world. Dr. Shiva jumped right in and added a prayer from India that is recited when seed is sown: ‘May the seed be exhaustless’.

In her subsequent lecture at OCAD (Ontario College of Art and Design), she commented about the importance of cultural forms in sync with ecological action, and I felt affirmed that art can weave strong threads in the fabric of sustainability.

I welcome collaboration and the inspirations of others on creating these new forms.

Has Talia planted a seed of interest in you? Do you want to share your creative spirit with others and change the world with your art? Write to greenartstudio@gmail.com or visit her blog, Tali’s Green Log. For more ideas on how to join Vadana Shiva in action and to sow seeds in your community, visit our campaign page!

Remember – in the battle to save the planet, you can plant the first seed: Share your story of how you’re planting seeds for change in your community, by entering our contest, and you’ll be eligible to win a prize, including being featured on TV as our next GreenHero! Contest details and more information can be found here.

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