By Adam Brazeau
CORNWALL, Ontario – The Agape Centre said goodbye to winter and welcomed in a new season at the first edition of an urban agriculture-themed event Sunday.
Over 75 people visited Seedy Sunday, the seed sale and swap event hosted by the food bank/soup kitchen/thrift store in collaboration with Transition Cornwall+.
The crowd boasted a mix of dedicated farmers, gardeners, environmentalists, as well as homeowners and apartment dwellers interested in growing their own food.
“We’re really pleased with the turnout,” said co-organizer Kendra Smith, volunteer coordinator for the Agape Centre.
She noted that the event was a great opportunity to promote the ‘Plant a Row Grow a Row’ program that encourages gardeners to grow a row of fresh produce to donate to a local food bank.
“We love donations of fresh produce – and as quickly as it comes through our doors, we’re giving it away in our food bank,” said Smith.
Vendors sold a wide variety of locally grown heirloom and heritage seeds, as well as food-related plant materials like fruit trees and shrubs suitable for urban environments and catalogues from local seed companies.
Sylvie Paquette, coordinator of the Eastern Ontario Agri-Food Network, and her infant daughter Emoke purchased some seeds for their farm in Alexandria.
Paquette was also there to scope out the reaction to Cornwall’s inaugural Seedy Sunday.
“It’s fantastic to see all these vendors representing farms in the area, and their different focuses,” said Paquette.
She added: “The location for this event is great. I love the work Agape does with its community garden and its other activities.”
Paquette said using these seeds for growing food in an urban setting is an ideal way for Cornwall area residents to try and learn something new without the commitment of planting an entire garden.
Kat Rendek, coordinator of All Things Food – an SDG-based food security network – handed out the Agri-Food Network’s regional Farm Fresh Local Food map to visitors. A new edition is set to surface this spring.
Local gardening and environmental groups offered resources and advice on planting and harvesting. Exhibitors included Seeds of Diversity, Tourne-SOL, Koz Roots Garlic and Herb Farm, and Growing Up Organic, among others.
Seedy Sunday, also known as Seedy Saturday, is a series of annual events across the country where people exchange and purchase seeds and plants in a social setting with expert gardeners ready to give advice.