Heirloom Seeds

Small Spade keeps bees as key pollinators for our crops

Bees help to ensure that saved seed is naturally healthy and viable, and they help us to grow delicious, healthy food!

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Heirloom Seeds

As a sustainable food producer, I am concerned that control over seeds, and therefore our food, will become limited to a handful of corporations that breed varieties for appearance and suitability to industrial production, not taste or nutrition. To prevent this from happening, I grow only heirloom varieties, and save seed year after year, to preserve the genetic lines and the history of these ancient foods that have sustained us for sometimes hundreds of years.

Saving seed year after year means that as a farmer, I am not dependent on seeds sold as commodities by corporations. It also means that the plant varieties I grow have the chance to adapt to local conditions. They will grow more likely to produce well even in times of drought or too much rain, in heavy clay soils or thin, Canadian shield soils, and in the presence of pests.

Most seed sold by corporations is shipped from California or other far away places; saving seed on-farm requires no fuel for shipping and therefore reduces harmful emissions. If a natural disaster befell one of the major seed-producing corporations, (it’s happened in the past and could happen again) farmers who save heirloom seed on-farm would still be able to grow and produce true-to-type vegetables, unlike those who buy hybrid seed every growing season. In addition, when old varieties are dropped from corporate seed catalogues, the farmer will still have the variety and can continue to grow it out and offer it to others.

Conventional seed production by corporations is one of the most chemically intensive processes in agriculture, because the plants are in the ground longer – unbelievably, they are actually sprayed more often than conventional vegetables harvested for eating. Small Spade practices organic seed production, which means that the farmer spends more labour and organic inputs on the process, but there is considerably less cost to the environment.