Sowing Seeds of Diversity - Biodiversity
Kevin Gagel volunteers at PG Seed Collective booth at 'Seedy Saturday' event
Prince George, BC - Prince George resident, Kevin Gagel, readily admits he's a newcomer to the push to preserve seed biodiversity...
In fact, Gagel works in the IT industry where he doesn't 'get his hands dirty'. He originally became involved in the Prince George Community Seed Collective to support his wife, who is the gardener in the family.
But Gagel says the issues surrounding seed heritage, biodiversity and overall food security quickly hooked him. "I've been dumbfounded at what's happening to our food stocks around the globe as we're seeing more and more of our food stocks being taken over by genetically-modified 'stuff', our own individual food sovereignty is disappearing."
The local seed collective began just over a year ago, when Vancouver-based 'Seedy Saturday' founder, Sharon Rempel, came to Prince George to talk about seed banks and seed collectives, and to share some of her experiences. Local members have started sharing heritage, heirloom and open-pollinated seeds.
"We've got members who grow their own potatoes," says Gagel. "Potatoes that have been de-listed so it's actually illegal to sell them, but they can give them away."
"They're wonderful potatoes, there's nothing wrong with them," he explains. "It's just that the farm equipment can't harvest them because of the way they grow in the ground and what-not, so there was lobbying for the government to de-list them. And, if they're de-listed you can't sell them, and if you can't sell them, what's the point in growing them? (goes the logic)"
Gagel says losing variety in potatoes makes them susceptible to disease and pests. "The next thing you know we don't have potatoes on the market unless you happen to be one of the few people growing your own de-listed potatoes."
Gagel says it's heartening to be involved with like-minded individuals at the seed collective. "I mean to know that you're doing something that's ultimately going to help the Prince George area is good." He and his wife have converted the backyard at their townhouse into garden space and plan to put a few beds in the front yard for potatoes this year.
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