Expand your garden through the Tehkummah Seed Exchange

The seed exchange logo was designed by Tehkummah artist Madonna Aeschlimann.

TEHKUMMAH—The first annual Tehkummah Seed Exchange is being hosted at the Tehkummah Public Library this Saturday, February 17 from 12 to 3 pm.

“People have saved and exchanged seeds since time immemorial,” explained Anastasia Eranosova who is organizing the event along with other community members. “It’s only in modern times that this tradition has been broken. Seed exchanges or seed swaps are sometimes also called seedy Saturdays. This ancient practice of supporting each other through exchanging seeds is really making a comeback.” 

Ms. Eranosova said that she was inspired to organize the swap after watching the film ‘SEED: The Untold Story’ at the Debaj seed exchange.

“I was inspired by the film and wanted to organize a positive community event,” said Ms. Eranosova.

She explained that people will bring their own seeds to the swap that they saved from their garden last year and put them on a table in individual packages or bulk and then have the opportunity to take other people’s seeds which are of a different type or variety.

“If you don’t have seeds or you are planning on starting a garden this year, you can still participate; you just take seeds but leave a monetary donation,” Ms. Eranosova noted. “Hopefully, the people who start new gardens save their seeds and then next year can bring them to the exchange.”

Most of the seeds for the exchange will be donated by Tehkummah gardeners, but Northern Ontario Permaculture Research Institute has donated seeds, as have The Urban Harvest of Toronto, which specializes in heirloom vegetables, and Heritage Harvest Seed of Manitoba.

“If you are bringing seeds to swap they must be ‘open pollinate,’ not hybrid,” said Ms. Eranosova. “Hybrid plants don’t produce seeds.”

She hopes that the seeds exchange and films sparks conversation amongst those in attendance.

“Gardening is what I do for a living, and growing food is my passion and I would really like to raise awareness about the importance of food security and plant diversity,” she added. “My hope is that the event creates a space for people to meet and exchange seeds, promote and preserve genetic diversity of food crops through distribution of open pollinated and heirloom seed varieties, and empower people to grow their own food and to save and share their own seeds next year.”

Ms. Eranosova says she plans to make the Tehkummah Seed Exchange an annual event, adding speakers and/or workshops next year.

The event is being held at the Tehkummah Library on Saturday, February 17 from noon until 3 pm. There will be home baked good, coffee and teas, with the movie screening starting at 1 pm.

For more information, call Anastasia Eranosova at 705-822-3780.