Garden Therapy Notes

 A Collection of Gardening Information and Inspiration



Seedy Saturdays 

What They Are, Why They Are Important, and How To Organize One 

Seedy Saturdays are gatherings where people can trade garden seeds and meet others who are interested in conserving the biodiversity of heirloom, open-pollinated and non-genetically modified seeds. Those involved in Seedy Saturdays are passionate about sustainable food systems and gardening practices, so this is the place you want to be to learn and get inspired about environmentally responsible gardening. 

We can all thank a Canadian volunteer organization called Seeds of Diversity for popularizing these events and providing resources for those who want to organize Seedy Saturdays in their own communities. Each event is as unique as the people who organize them. They are held in many different locations all over the country each year, usually in late winter. A list of Seedy Saturday events and resources can be found on the Seeds of Diversity website: 

The one thing each Seedy Saturday has in common is a community seed exchange. For instance, Guelph’s Seedy Saturdays features a table in the middle of the venue where people can gather to trade their seeds.

seed exchange table

The idea is to have people drop off any open-pollinated, non-genetically modified seeds that they are willing to share. Their seed packets are labelled with as much detail as possible: plant variety, year that seeds were saved, description, growing instructions, etc.  

Those who drop off seeds can pick up new seeds that a fellow community member has left on the table to share. It’s a seed trade! 

Consider saving seeds from your garden with the intention of sharing them at a Seedy Saturday, or if you are interested in Horticultural Therapy, design a program on seed saving so that your clients can participate. If there aren’t any seed exchange events that occur in your community, consider organizing one yourself! I suggest starting simple and contacting Seeds of Diversity for help and resources. My advice is to include a seed exchange table, guest speakers and/or a Horticultural Therapy activity to draw interest.  

Guelph Seedy Saturdays also include participation from earth friendly seed and gardening companies, and organizations associated with healthy gardening practices and resilient communities. For instance, the Guelph Wellington Master Gardeners, Canadian Organic Growers, Guelph Centre for Urban Organic Farming, Guelph Wellington Food Round Table, Transition Guelph, and Seeds of Diversity were all there to support the cause when we had our event in March 2013.  

Seedy Saturday Guelph 2013

Seedy Saturday Guelph 2013

There is also room for creative expression at Seedy Saturdays! At our 2013 event we got people involved in a community art project called ‘Seeds of Hope’. Local artist, Christina Kingsbury, did a workshop on seed paper making. We then invited people to write their intentions, hopes or messages to Mother Earth on the seed paper. These messages were displayed again at Transition Guelph’s Resilience Festival where people were invited to plant the messages in their gardens to help their fellow community members’ hopes to manifest.

Hand made paper at Seedy Saturday in Guelph 2013

We had guest speakers give talks at Seedy Saturday as well. Martha Gay Scoggins, coordinator of the Guelph Center for Urban Organic Farming gave a talk on the importance of seed saving and heirloom seeds.  


Cathy Hansen from the Canadian Organic Growers gave a talk called ‘Your Organic Backyard’, which taught people how to enhance their soil, carefully select their seeds, and reduce weed and insect problems pesticide-free. 


We chose these speakers and topics because they fit in nicely with the purpose of the event: to inspire and empower people to re-connect with Mother Earth in healthy ways.


Speaker at Seedy Saturdy Guelph 2013

Attending or organizing a Seedy Saturday is a great way to connect with passionate gardeners in your community. By becoming involved with Seedy Saturdays, you are supporting the important cause of seed-saving in order to conserve the biodiversity of open-pollinated, non-GMO seeds so that future generations can enjoy and be sustained by what Mother Nature has to offer.

To get updates on current Guelph Seedy Saturday happenings visit

Written By: Lea Tran 

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