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Government increases support for B.C. seed growers

Province investing $90,000 to scale up seed production and processing
Amara Farm owner Arzeena Hamir and daughter Amina tend to their stand at farmers market. File photo

The provincial government is increasing support for seed growers to enhance and expand their operations.

To scale up seed production and processing in B.C., the Province is investing $90,000 towards:

*Seed-education workshops throughout B.C.;

*Creation of a seed mentorship program and knowledge-transfer events;

*Seed trials to select breeds best suited to B.C.’s climate;

*Seed-cleaning and processing services using mobile units;

*Working with seed libraries to identify seed-storage capacity; and

*Developing a database of seed-exchange systems.

As a small-scale seed grower, Amara Farm owner Arzeena Hamir has benefited from the mentorship, education workshops and access to seed-cleaning equipment, which she said will help fellow growers increase production of locally grown and adapted seed varieties.

“Even prior to COVID we were seeing delays and even outright cancellations of some of our seed, so I’m seeing a resurgence in local seed production,” Hamir said. “We are saving over 20 varieties on our farm and I’d love to see other growers do it as well.”

She figures the cost of mentorship and workshops is probably less than $5,000. One of the biggest hurdles has been booking expensive mobile seed-cleaning equipment.

“I now have access to equipment valued at over $10,000,” Hamir said, noting Vancouver Island has a kit that travels in a horse trailer. “I believe another set is being built for the Interior.”

She notes that FarmFolk CityFolk, a Vancouver-based food and agriculture non-profit, is the key organization that helps co-ordinate these activities and hosts the registration.

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