Sicamous will see its own local seed swap next month, allowing avid gardeners and newcomers alike to share seeds and grow a closer sense of community.
There has been a seed swap event hosted in Enderby for many years, as well as a seed drop-off point at the Enderby library, and the South Shuswap seed swap has taken root recently for people living in other areas nearby. Noticing a gap in her own community, Nicole Albisser brought forward a local seed swap initiative to the Sicamous Gardeners group, and the idea quickly bloomed.
Albisser organized the Sicamous version with the local library like they do in Enderby, to allow for the possible development of a permanent seed drop-off and pickup location. Gardeners are encouraged to package excess seeds in envelopes and share them with others, either at a seed swap or consistently within the community at a seed drop-off box.
“You hope that if everyone keeps seeds, or if someone bought a ton and they’re not going to use them all, even leftovers from store-bought packages, that everyone can make a few envelopes and we can share,” said Albisser.
Albisser said she and the gardening group will keep a log of who took seeds from who at the swap and which people donated seeds from specific plants. This way, if someone gets some seeds they didn’t have before but experiences disappointing growing season, they can look up who they got the seeds from and ask for more. The log will also help to keep track of seeds being grown in the community so that heirloom and heritage plants never get forgotten.
The hope is that the gardening group and local growers can ensure plants that grow well in the area’s environment continue to thrive, Albisser said. The gardeners want to keep an established group of people tending the seeds and keeping track so they won’t be as dependent on foreign plants and on buying produce from elsewhere.
Enderby’s seed swap is hosted in March, so Albisser planned Sicamous’ for February 18, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Sicamous library. Albisser also said the gardening group will host a seedling swap a little later in the spring for those who sprouted too many plants from their newfound seeds.
After growing season, the plan is to send out a letter to see how gardeners fared with their seeds and to let them know how to save and share their next crop, said Albisser.
The group welcomes anyone to come to the swap and try growing plants, even if it’s not something they’ve done before. Albisser encourages anyone with more experience to contact the Sicamous Gardeners on Facebook if they have knowledge they can share.
“Everything feels like it’s in Salmon Arm or farther sometimes, so it’s nice to bring the little things into Sicamous itself,” said Albisser. “There’s more people out here than you might think.”
Albisser has been growing plants on a large scale on her acreage in Sicamous since moving there in 2020, and enjoyed gardening years before that. She said she has always been passionate about having more local people grow food so that communities can create better food security for themselves.
“If everyone learns to simply start a little garden, it doesn’t have to be big, then they can just have some healthy vegetables available to them.”
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