After getting back from the OSA conference I participated in a two-day Train The Seed Trainer session organized by USC Canada in Guelph, Ontario.
USC Canada works to promote vibrant family farms, strong rural communities, and healthy ecosystems around the world. A large part of this work is around seed security and diversity. Historically USC Canada has worked on these issues internationally but with The Bauta Initiative on Canadian Seed Security, USC Canada (in partnership with Seeds of Diversity Canada) will be focusing on Canadian seeds.
This two-day meeting was the first step in this initiative. The participants gathered to highlight gaps in current Canadian seed training resources, to discuss key seed concerns, and to develop a seed training curriculum that can then be used to train other seed trainers.
The main participants were seed growers from across Canada who currently offer seed workshops. They included (from Eastern to Western Canada)
- Andrea Berry (Hope Seeds) – Granville Ferry, Nova Scotia
- Patrice Fortier (La Société des Plantes) – Kamouraska, Quebec
- Dan Brisebois (Tourne-Sol Co-operative Farm) – Les Cèdres, Quebec
- Cate Henderson (Seed Sanctuary) – Kingston, Ontario
- Kim Delaney (Hawthorn Seeds) – Palmerston, Ontario
- Jim Ternier (Prairie Garden Seeds) – Humboldt, Saskatchewan
- Mojave Kaplan (Planting Seeds Project) – Lytton, British Columbia
- Craig Evans (Growing Opportunities Farm Project) – Duncan, British Columbia
Some folks from USC were present: Suzie Walsh (USC’s Executive Director), Jane Rabinowicz (Bauta Initiative Program Development Manager), Tremayne Stanton-Kennedy, and Kenton Lobe (Director).
And some from Seeds of Diversity Canada: Bob Wildfong (SoDC Executive Director) and Andrew Mason.
Seed Workshop Design
Most of the two days was spent developing the actual curriculum. Participants were divided into three groups to develop the outline for a day long training using post it notes and markers. Afterwards each group placed their work on the wall.
Then each group presented their workshop.
Patrice presenting the group 3 workshop.
The other participants then asked questions and highlighted similarities and differences between each presentation.
We then moved the post-it notes around and
came up with one super workshop combining the best of all three workshops. Jane is currently trying to make sense of this pile of papers and get it into an organized document.
Each of the trainers will run train the trainers in their regions. At these session they will meet with other seed trainers to share the developed curriculum and get feedback.
In addition, there will also be a number of seed workshops based on the curriculum over the next year.
By the fall this seed curriculum will have been tested and refined, and should be pretty kick-ass.
Being part of this process really inspired me with what’s going on across Canada and it also gave me a chance to revise my own seed workshops. I’ve already begun to incorporate some of the techniques and topics we discussed.
If you are interested in learning more about the Bauta Initiative or attending one of these regional seed training sessions e-mail Jane (firstname.lastname@example.org).
What exciting seed initiatives are going on where you are?