Published: The Western Producer, September 14, 2012

We may not be sure which came first, the chicken or the egg, but we can be pretty sure the seed comes first in plant- based agriculture.

Protecting the right to farm requires that we develop and protect regionally appropriate seed systems. Organic Alberta has joined in this process with several initiatives.

John Navazio, senior scientist with the Organic Seed Alliance, shared his passion for growing high quality seeds and building strong regional seed communities at Organic Alberta’s farmer field days in July.

He feels local seed communities are the best way to maintain genetic diversity and assure that farmers have choice.

“We rely on farmers’ knowledge, working with farmers as equal partners,” Navazio said.

“We have some tricks of the trade we can share, especially if you are not getting the varieties you need.”

He told market gardeners that having crops work well with their rotations means increasing number of crops flowering each month. This diversity supports pollinators and other beneficial insects and provides a valuable revenue stream.

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