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
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.
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
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
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.
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.
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
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 www.guelphseedysaturday.blogspot.com
Written By: Lea Tran