Seedy people set to gather at Miners Hall

Andrew Zwicker
By Andrew Zwicker
March 3rd, 2011

With all of the genetic engineering feats of late designed to boost agricultural production, one group of seedy locals will be getting together this weekend to prove that they can achieve better results–naturally. Rather than Frankenstein-like projects doing everything from merging trout genes with wheat to develop frost-resistant crops to spawning pest-resistant plants, perhaps the best way to increase the output of your own home garden could be to simply use plants and seeds that are already experienced in Rossland life.


These locally-acclimated seeds and plants may not be seen riding the Seven Summits, picking huckleberries, or enjoying the backcountry. Instead, they are found in the hands of some of the greenest thumbs in town, having been harvested from generations of plants grown in Rossland over the years that have developed to adapt and best fit the local climate.


“Most of the seeds that you purchase at the store are grown in the southern United States, except for some smaller producers,” said Rachael Roussin of Rossland REAL Food. “A spinach plant, for example, that was grown in the southern United States was grown in a completely different climate than Rossland so it will be adapted for a southern environment.”


To offer a helping hand, increase circulation within the local seed trading economy, and to proliferate the seed varieties that have worked best in Rossland, the REAL foodiesa are putting on Rossland’s first seed swap this Sunday


“I think the most exciting part about this is that it is, as far as I know, the first seed swap in Rossland,” added Roussin. “We’re trying to set this up as an annual event. We’re in the Mountain Kingdom and there are certain varieties that grow really well up here and others that don’t. We’re looking to start the first seed swap so we can start circulating seeds that are harvested locally and therefore better suited to our environment.”


Whether you’re a commercial seed harvester, a backyard hobbyist or just have some extra seeds left over, the seed swap at the Miners’ Hall this Sunday afternoon will be the place to be. Whether for sale, for free or for trade, the organizers’ goal is to hopefully have folks going home at the end of the day with a variety of new seeds as well as a chance to bring together the gardening community as the season draws nearer.


How exactly the actual swap will go down is yet to be seen.


“It’s going to be a bit of en experiment this year a little bit,” noted Roussin. “We’re encouraging people to bring their seed packets and trade with others and buy or sell here and there. It’s really like a big seed fair. There will be so many seeds going around and hopefully people can come home with a real mixed variety.”


In some cases, gardeners have generations of experience behind them. Consequently, these local gardeners have literally weeded out the varieties that grow best in Rossland and developed them over the years. Those years of hard work can now be bought or traded for this weekend. If all goes well, who knows—you may notice a particularly strong gardening season thanks to the years of experience packed away in your newly-swapped-for seeds.


Seeds of inspiration will be sown in the minds of those who stick around after the swap for the screening of two foodie films, Fresh and Dirt.


Fresh looks at those in the food industry who are taking unique and creative approaches to bringing back the local food movement and finding healthy, sustainable alternatives to industrial agriculture. Dirt, on the other hand, digs into the world of soil, analyzing the relationship and abuses between man and the earth that sustains him and teaches us to respect the dirt that provides our food.


“These films are not for gardeners only,” said Roussin, “Anyone interested in the food system should watch them. Everyone wants to know these days where their food came from. These films are really about inspiring people on alternative ways to get their food and about cool things that are going on locally. I think it will leave people on a positive note and also give them a little bit of insight into what is happening with their food right now.”


The Seed Swap will be happening Sunday from 4:00-5:30 at the Miners’ Hall and is a free event. Fresh homemade chili and beer will be served at 5:30 for $4 and at 6:00 for $10 the movies will roll.

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