Viewing post #807448 by Sorellina

You are viewing a single post made by Sorellina in the thread called Organizing a Local Seed Swap?.
Dec 27, 2011 5:46 PM CST
Name: Julianna
Victoria, BC USDA Zone 8
Ciao Joseph-

I go to Seedy Saturdays every year. They're hosted by Seeds of Diversity Canada, so it's not just one person doing most of the work. They get a location and then organize vendors of food, drinks, gardening products, gardening literature, and commercial seed vendors, usually local but here that usually means Ontario and Quebec. Seeds of Diversity people have an army of volunteers who donate the "freebie seeds" and they get together several weeks beforehand to thresh and package the various seeds. The "seed trading table" works on a more or less one-to-one basis. Say you have 10 packets of corn seeds or whatever kinds of seeds that you want to trade - you hand them to the people at the front and they will hand you script for the number of packets you can take from the trading table. I've been to Seedy Saturdays where the trading table wasn't run this way and it was very hard to manage and control. I always pre-package my seeds - you'll all see how I do this when you get your parcels-and the volunteers are always VERY happy to get them because a lot of the donated seeds have a ton of chaff. Many people don't care about chaff - but I'm one that does, so I make a point of cleaning any seeds I give away.

Most of the Seedy Saturdays I've attended have been very wonderful events, but they're starting to get extremely popular as more and more people want to grow their own food and the economy isn't picking up as fast as most people would like. When we went to our first Seedy Saturday back in 2004, I "bought" over 20 packs of tomato seeds from the commercial vendors with nothing but my blue and white double columbine seeds. I couldn't believe it! Now, a lot of them don't trade because either they don't grow the seed-plants themselves or they get too many donated seeds as it is to possibly grow them all out. I still have some amazing vendors that "know" me, even though we only chat with them once or maybe twice a year and they trade still. I bring my big shoebox and have my trades list handy so they can quickly look at it and not miss any paying customers. You learn little things over the years.

Besides seeds, I've gotten local honey, a contraption for making home-made bean/radish/whatever sprouts, a rain guage, a home-knitted strawberry filled with catnip for my monsters, seed potatoes, garlic, and shallot sets, and they usually have a place for kids to do fun hands-on things like stick their hands into a worm bin, plant a sunflower or nasturtium in a 35mm film canister with a string to hang it around their neck, and of course, colouring with crayones. There's usually a fair bit of vegan/vegetarian type food vendors, t-shirt vendors, mushroom colony vendors, various "save the planet" type literature people, recycling mongers, and I think you can get worm castings as well.

I've gotten some amazing seeds at the trading table, but like tag sales, you really need to know what you're looking for and the viability of whatever seed you take. I don't take any allium seed from the seed trading table now because often, it's past its prime and won't germinate, but tomatoes and even peppers are good bets, beans and corn as well.

Have fun, but try not to do it all on your own. Draft an army of volunteers to help if you can.
Grazie a tutti,

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