After a two-year pause the annual Salish Seed Swap has returned!
This year‘s event was a resounding success with over 150 people attending in three hours. We had a lot of good help from volunteers setting up the table and organizing the seeds. The three hour event went by fast with lots of good discussions and connections made. Thanks goes out to the Bellingham Unitarian Fellowship for sharing their space for this amazing community event.
There were several presentations to the group offered to the group. Michael Pilarski gave a talk on efforts of the Global Earth Repair Foundations work. Brian Kerkvliet and Virginia Malmquist gave an overview of the history of the Salish Seed Guild and its seed garden project. Resulting in packaging and distributing over 10,000 packs of seeds back into the community.
They outlined a couple of new initiatives of the Seed Guild’s being launched this year. The first is a membership program with incentives for members. The second is an Adopt a Seed program where members can plant and grow out seeds which will be processed and distributed by the Salish Seed Guild the following year. Workshops and other volunteer work parties will be planned throughout the season so there’s lots of ways for people to get involved at all different levels. One of the main goals of the seed guild is to teach people how to save their own seed from crops in a safe, productive and responsible way.
There were several vendors at the swap offering garden related products and value added herbs and tinctures from Wayside Botanicals, Flower plants, garlic bulbs sets, cuttings from Inspiration Farm, books, herbal remedies and rare and unusual seeds from Friends of the Trees Botanicals, adding a nice mix of diversity to find. There was ample time for networking and connections between diverse groups of people aiming to strengthen our food resilience and independence. Groups from school gardens, community gardens, personal gardens, to small farms and indigenous organizations. All had something to share and gain by attending.
The seed tables that were organized into categories such as root crops, greens, brassicas, cabbage, kale, cauliflower, herbs and flowers, peas and beans, corn and grains, squash and cucumbers and many others adorned the seed tables. Much of the seed was already packaged up but large quantities of bulk seed was also available for people to package in recycled envelopes available around the room. Knowledgeable people were available to help field questions behind the table, helping people choose varieties and package seeds.
Celt had this to add, “The 2023 Seed Swap had wonderful energy. After a break of two years, previous participants and new faces were so excited to attend. Our Seed Ambassadors fielded questions for the entire time. Some were experienced gardeners and some were college students doing an enthusiastic job of looking up the answers on their phones. I was at the tomato and lettuce table, right at the entrance. I was impressed by the number of new gardeners. I had many questions about growing lettuce, tomatoes and peppers in containers (absolutely works.) Look for container gardening information coming to the Salish Seed Guild website.”
We had only a few hot pepper varieties, mostly donated seed. If anyone would like to adopt a pepper and grow it out for seed, contact us. Peppers out cross more than tomatoes, so it works best to grow several plants of a single variety.