Gardens and ideas exchanged at first annual Tehkummah Seed Exchange

Tehkummah Seed Exchange organizer Anastasia Eranosova, left, says this event will offer something unique for novice and expert gardeners and growers alike. Seeds are presented on an honour system with descriptions of the plants contained within.

TEHKUMMAH—The first annual Tehkummah Seed Exchange was hosted at the Tehkummah Public Library last Saturday.

“It was a great event—way beyond my expectations,” organizer Anastasia Eranosova told The Expositor. “Over 60 people attended and many stayed for the movie screening of ‘SEED: The Untold Story’.”

Ms. Eranosova was inspired to organize the swap after watching the film ‘SEED: The Untold Story’ at the Debajehmujig seed exchange and wanted to organize a positive event for her community.

A wide variety of seeds was on offer at the Tehkummah Seed Exchange.

“I am very happy to see so much interest in the local community to learn about seeds, share seeds and grow food,” she said. “Many people brought their own seeds, live plant cuttings like aloe and philodendron, and even started pots of herbs and salads. Folks were very enthusiastic about trying heirloom seed varieties, sometimes even recognizing names their grandparents used to grow in their kitchen gardens. It is very exciting that almost lost and forgotten varieties are making a strong come back to Manitoulin’s gardens this year. This event was such a humbling experience for me, it really made me feel like a part of an ancient tradition, a link between the past and the future.”

Ms. Eranosova said she was also pleased at how the film stimulated great discussion amongst the attendees.

“The movie has generated a discussion about the questionable ethics of the GMO (Genetically Modified Organisms) seeds that have taken over conventional agriculture,” she noted. “One visitor said that she was so glad to see the movie and learn about the dangers of GMO—she did not realize how acute and close to home this issue really is.”

The Tehkummah municipal office hall was packed for the first annual Seed Exchange.

The majority of the seeds for the exchange were donated by Tehkummah gardeners, but Northern Ontario Permaculture Research Institute also donated seeds, as did The Urban Harvest of Toronto, which specializes in heirloom vegetables, and Heritage Harvest Seeds of Manitoba.

“For people who missed the Tehkummah Seed Exchange, there is a temporary seed rack set up at the Tehkummah municipal building,” said Ms. Eranosova. “Come check it out and take seeds in exchange for a small donation. The seed rack will be there until the end of March. The movie will soon be available for loan at the Tehkummah Library.”

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