It is quite simple – without seed we do not have food. Nine out of every ten bites of food taken around the world today begin with the planting of a seed. Every year nature brings a new challenge to test us, and this is increasingly the case with the weather extremes and changing pest pressures that come with climate change. Diversity is our best resource to adapt to this change. Without it our food system is vulnerable.
Globally, we have lost 75% of agricultural biodiversity in the last 100 years, and 75% of the world’s food is derived from only 12 plant and 5 animal species. This is where we find ourselves today. Just when we need it the most, diversity is narrowing at alarming rates. And not just biodiversity on our farms, but diversity in our economic landscape as well. Due to corporate consolidation in the seed industry, 3 companies now control 53% of the global commercial seed market. The top ten seed companies account for 75%!
These and other dynamics add up to a vulnerable seed and food system that has negative impacts on human and environmental health. As Canada’s climates change, so too must our approach to food production, starting with seeds.
We begin by acknowledging those who have been passionately growing and sharing seed for decades, and who have laid the foundation for the thriving seed movement we see in Canada today. We acknowledge and thank the elders in this movement who have stewarded and protected biodiversity for decades. We acknowledge the many who quietly maintain astonishing seed collections that hold the biodiversity we need for our future food supply. Finally, we thank the young seed savers who bring new energy and new ways of thinking to this movement. We welcome new partners who are realizing the importance of biodiversity, and want to get involved.
Our hope is to use the precious resources we have been granted to support and celebrate this community, to bring people together to learn from each other, and bring the message of seed saving to a wider public.
This program was made possible thanks to the generous support of Mrs. Gretchen Bauta, member of the Weston family. Her vision and championing of a secure and thriving Canadian seed system led to the establishment of this program. Alongside Mrs. Gretchen Bauta, we acknowledge her friend and mentor, Sharon Rempel, without whom this program would not exist.