Sunday, 6 March 2016

Seedy Sunday: Local event promotes seed saving and local products

Seedy Sunday: Local event promotes seed saving and local products

By Stacey McIntyre-Gonzalez – March 6, 2016
There is always something seedy to do in the Ottawa Valley! I had a wonderfully educational day at the Rankin Culture and Recreation Centre for the 9th Annual Seedy Sunday, a seed swap and heirloom seed sale that promotes local and organic agriculture. The event, sponsored by Ottawa River Institute, invites the public to come out to “share and prepare for the gardening season” but also sends a deeper message of environmental health and a sustainable future. My fiancé and I prepared by planning our 8ft vegetable garden while Hazel fell asleep on the Canadian Gardener’s Guide, dreaming of when she could once again sneak into the garden and eat all of the green beans right off the plant.

Free admission will get you lots of fun, a chance to win door prizes and access to the local vendors. Local farmers, bee keepers and food producers come out to let the public sample and purchase their food. The folks from Opeongo Soaps were there- I purchased bridal shower favors from them just a few weeks ago. Environmental groups show their support by educating the public about ethical farming and crop standards. Visitors can swap seeds with neighbors, see gardening presentations and dine on a local lunch by the Ottawa Valley Food Co-operative. On the menu this year was a zesty Moroccan beef stew, 3 different types of rustic pizza and carrot cake with cream cheese frosting for dessert. We enjoyed all of this while jamming to the sounds of local musicians. Is there any better way to spend a Sunday?

My fiancé and I plant a vegetable garden because we want to eat as clean, healthy and sustainably as possible. We love knowing exactly where our food comes from- food from our garden just tastes better. Growing my own food is a great way to ensure that I don’t consume pesticides and GMOs. This year we purchased our seed from Greta’s Organic Gardens from her booth at the Seedy Sunday celebration. It was fantastic to have such a large variety of seed from each of the vendors and the seed swap table- all of them offering heirloom, organic and open pollinated seeds and plants.

Local environmentalists had great information about growing produce without pesticide use and safe and ethical agriculture. What I loved the most was the educational material to teach people about food labeling- especially GMO education and what labeling terms are regulated and which ones- like “natural”- are not. Sampling food from local vendors was AWESOME! It was all delicious and we had to pick up a few goodies. Tonight we will be slow-roasting a whole organic chicken, glazed in Amber Buckwheat honey from Tanglewood Honey. This chicken will become pulled chicken in a BBQ sauce made with that honey and some maple mustard from Mapleside Products. I love unpasteurized honey!

Shopping local is so important to me and that is why I love events like this- plus it is a reminder that gardening season is just around the corner! I encourage you all to check out events like this, go to farmers markets, shop local organic and ask the big question “where does my food come from?” Learn your labels and shop smart. Making educated grocery store choices to promote sustainability and ethical farming standards isn’t just better for the environment- it’s healthier. You CAN grow your own food. You CAN eat less meat. You CAN buy organic and non-GMO. The demand is already there and events like Seedy Sunday help us get closer to reaching that attainable goal of sustainability.


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