Successful Seed Swap!

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.

Folks getting their seeds!

Upcoming 2023 Seed Events

Salish Seed Swap is back!

February 18 @ 12:00 pm – 3:00 pm

At the – Bellingham Unitarian Fellowship Downstairs

12 noon to 3pm – Masks Requested

$10 suggested donation, at the door. No one turned away for lack of funds
Early entrance (11:30 am) for members of the Salish Seed Guild and people bringing seeds to share

New! To Become a Salish Seed Member now, Click here

Free Presentations and Workshops

  • 12pm – Global Earth Repair. An overview of the worldwide eco-restoration movement and what we can do in Whatcom County.   Presented by Michael Pilarski. Friends of the Trees Society
  • 1pm – Learn About the Salish Seed Guild & Preserving local seed heritage!
  • 2pm – Garden Strategies for the PNW

A Past Seed Swap Gathering

Help us promote it, Download the poster and..

Here is the link to the FB Event share away on social media!

Join us as a Vendor!

If you are interested in vending your garden related products to hundreds of people at the Annual Seed Swap. This will augment our free and barter related seed swap event. To secure one of 6 vending tables click here.

“Intro to seed saving” Presentations at local Libraries.

Planning, selecting, tending, harvesting and saving vegetable seeds.

Join one of our long-time seed-savers and amateur seed breeders, Celt Schira for workshops on the essentials of backyard seed-saving. Celt will present background information on seed saving and plant breeding, discuss dry seed and wet seed processing, and share some musings on the deeper reasons for growing heirloom vegetables and saving seed.

When and where

  • Wed 3/1 2:00-3:30 North Fork
  • Sat 4/1 Sat 1:00-2:30 Lynden
  • Wed 4/5 6:00-7:30 – Everson
  • Sat 4/8 1:30pm – 3:00pm South Whatcom Library.
  • Sat 4/22 10:30-12:00 Deming
  • Wed 5/3 6:00-7:30 – Blaine

Adopt a Seed Program

This year we are launching an Adopt a Seed program. This Program will bring the community together, allowing you to help the Salish Seed Guild grow out a wider variety of organic seeds for the community. You will be able to choose from a variety of crops we are looking to grow out for seed production. Most of these varieties will be the easier crops to save seed from. Not needing any special skills like hand pollinating or isolation. Learn More!

Spring Plant Sale Selections

Join us for Inspiration Farm’s annual Spring vegetable and permaculture plant sale! Coming up this Saturday and Sunday. 11am to 4 pm. Hope to see you to help find the perfect plants for your garden.

In Addition on Sunday May 1st, 2-5pm we will have a farm tour 2-3pm and PLANT SALE and Swap for International Permaculture Day on Sunday

You can shop for plants ahead of time and I will have them ready for you to pick up. We are donating 10% of all sales towards the Salish Seed Garden Project.

We will also have a place to trade or gift plants and seeds to other attendants.  To sell or trade you can show up a little early say 1-1:30 and set up. You can bring a table or display on the ground or the back of your car or truck.

If you are planning on attending the tour please consider carpooling with others. Folks with plants to sell or swap can arrive at 1:30 Guided tour will be from 2-3. Self guided tour and plant sale/swap will be from 3-5. Look forward to seeing you all!

Canopy Trees

Over Story Productive Trees are the most important element to consider in a Plant Guild. Long lived productive verities of Nuts, Fruits, Fuel, Forage, Fodder and Timber. Lovely long lived multi functional Trees.

Bushes & Shrubs

Supper Food Berries compose the understory, A large number of shrubs offer many Functions and Flavors of Berries, Herbs, Forage, Nitrogen Fixers, Fiber and Habitat for birds and insects. 

Vines & Canes

Find a Devine Vine, Vertical plants add an interesting dimension to your plant assembly tying it all together with an array of grapes, kiwis, hops, honeysuckle and cane fruit to suit your needs and tastes.

Ground Covers

Herbs to Heal and feed bees and butterflies. Low growing ground covers holds space and builds soil while producing a wide array of Forage, insectaries Medicine, Herbs and Teas.

Our Grant Proposal

We wanted to share our recent grant proposal that was submitted to the “Gardens for Good” grant competition. Thank you all who voted for us!

Please help us get across the finish line by sharing this with all of your friends and family on your contact list. You can forward this email and here is the direct link to vote by the end of April 1st 2022

Our Community Seed Garden serves Whatcom County in Washington State. The core group of individuals are passionate about growing local organic food with over 50 years of combined experience. Their ongoing involvement in the local seed exchange has put seed in the hands of our community for many years. This passion created the current non-profit organization, Salish Seed Guild ( The Guild was established in 2021 to promote personal community gardens through seed distribution. The co-coordinators, Brian ( and Krista (, have grown food and saved seeds for many years. They  organized the Salish Seed Garden as a project of Sustainable Bellingham ( a 501(c)3 organization.

This regional Salish Sea network of seed-saving gardeners – farmers and advocates support the open exchange of seeds, through workshops and educational demonstrations, and by researching, building and acquiring appropriate-scale seed processing equipment and storage facilities. The Guild serves a diverse community, including tribal nations, school gardens, food banks, and communities that are designated food deserts. 

In 2021, several organic farmers donated a portion of their land for the seed saving effort. On a ¾ acre plot over 50 volunteers donated hundreds of hours gathering in the effort to plant, maintain, harvest and process more than 60 seed varieties and later distribute over 5000 packets of locally grown seed as well as other purchased seed. More than 10 pounds of seed were retained for future planting and inclusion in the seed library. Volunteers participated in workshops and events designed to promote seed saving and processing techniques free of cost and/or by donation.  

The Guild grows, selects and stores seeds from plants that express genetic strengths adaptable to our soils and changing weather, or unique heirloom qualities that could enhance the resiliency of our local food system. 

We envision a future where a majority of local farmers and community gardeners are saving at least some of their own seeds, with each individual playing a vital role in stewarding locally adapted seed varieties and diversity.

This grant will allow us to continue to expand this important effort in our community with the purchase of additional tools and supplies, seed processing, storage and distribution equipment and the ability to offer small stipends for key coordinating positions  necessary to help to ensure long term success.  

Here are two recent articles on the Salish Seed project

Seeding the Future” in The Planet Magazine

Seed Swaps Strengthen Community“, In The Salish Current

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