We are thrilled to be participating in the Saskatoon Heirloom Tomato Seed Saving Project 2014! This project lead by local community gardener Karen Farmer, in collaboration with Seeds of Diversity and USC Canada, will involve the planting of heirloom tomato seeds from the Plant Gene Resource of Canada(PGRC), a seed bank in Saskatoon part of the department of Agriculture Canada.
Volunteers will plant one of over 30 varieties of tomato seeds involved in the project, helping to maintain the viability of heirloom tomato seeds in the PGRC seed bank. We are excited to have our own patch of heirloom tomato plants at the Garden Patch this year as part of this project. Come out to the Garden Patch this season and have a look at our plants!
Plant Gene Resources of Canada (PGRC) holds a collection of over 2,000 varieties of tomato seeds! These include heritage varieties collected from all parts of the world, breeding lines from Canadian experiment stations and universities as well as those developed by Canadian seed companies during the past 50 years. They were mostly deposited in PGRC’s seed bank between 1950 and 1980 and are in need of regeneration. Also, many of the varieties are undocumented and untested in Canada, but all are in the public domain and not patented.
Why does this matter?
"Roughly 100,000 global plant varieties are endangered today. Extreme weather events, over-exploitation of ecosystems, habitat loss, and a lack of public awareness threaten future plant biodiversity. Conservation techniques, such as the creation of seed banks and seed exchanges among farmers, gardeners, and even nations, play an important role in preserving ancient, heirloom varieties of important food crops." (Neirenberg/Workman)
We believe seed-saving projects such as this may help preserve agricultural biodiversity for future generations.
Photos taken at our tour of the PGRC seed bank tour March 2014.