n March of 2020, people all over the world were met with the unprecedented reactions and consequences of a global pandemic. Everyday routines were disrupted, stores flocked with panicked buyers, and common household goods flew off shelves in what seemed like seconds.
While grocery stores struggled to keep their shelves stocked, independent farmers and other food producers found themselves more in demand than ever. It was during this time that consumers were forced to take a long, hard look at the fragile makeup of our food infrastructure. And with much of the world under lockdown, the resurgence of homemade goods became increasingly popular. Sourdough bread became one of the biggest stay-at-home hobbies, especially in the winter months. By the time summer arrived, many had adopted a new hobby: gardening.
Sure, people have been growing their own food for years, but with the added stress of food availability or lack thereof, many quickly came to realize that planting could serve a greater purpose than just aesthetic alone.
Founded in 1983, West Coast Seeds first laid its roots in Vancouver, British Columbia and now, 35 years later, is still working to “help repair the world” one seed at a time. With an emphasis on education and community outreach, their mission to encourage sustainable, organic growing practices through knowledge and support is aided by “(T)he principles of eating locally produced food whenever possible, sharing gardening wisdom, and teaching people how to grow from seed.”
If you’re lucky enough to live near their store in Ladner, B.C., you can find their extensive catalogue of seeds, along with high-quality gardening supplies. And if not, no need to worry because they ship worldwide. With over 1000 different types of seeds—all of which are certified to be either untreated, non GMO, non GEO, organic, and good for you (and the Earth)—the possibilities of what you can plant are endless. Their website is also an abundant resource for all things gardening-related. You can find regular posts on their Garden Wisdom Blog, tackling every worry that a novice or pro gardener might have. They even offer insight into soil basics, composting, garden planning, and plenty of recipes to help you figure out what to do with everything you’re growing.
Most importantly, though, West Coast Seeds is committed to the principles of organic growing and sustainable agriculture. Their ethos is built on the foundation that food and all plants should be grown without the use of synthetic chemicals. Their website states their belief that, “Growers are custodians of the land they grow on—however large or small—and that by nourishing the soil through organic gardening techniques like composting and crop rotation, the plants they grow will be more vigorous, and less demanding.
"We believe that food should be grown in healthy soil. We believe that promoting biodiversity is an essential element of healthy farming.“
The sustainable farming movement is being adopted by most farmers across Canada and can easily be transferred down to the home gardener. When we as a nation find ourselves in times of uncertainty and with a loss of food security, there is a comfort in knowing that companies like West Coast Seeds are there as a resource. With the tools they and others like them lay, we can all start planting the idea for a healthier, more eco-minded food future.