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Nine out of ever y ten bites of food consumed around the world today begin with seed.” This remarkable fact, gleaned from the USC Canada website, underscores the critical role of abundant and diverse seed supplies in creating a sustainable future.

Canadian Organic Growers’ history of seed work stretches back to its Heritage Seed Program in the 1980s, which later became Seeds of Diversity. Protecting and celebrating genetic diversity is a central aspect of COG’s vision to “lead local and national communities towards sustainable organic stewardship of land, food and fibre while respecting nature, upholding social justice and protecting natural resources.”

In this issue, you’ll find stories of dedicated people across the country working to enhance the quality, quantity and diversity of our agricultural genetic resources. The Bauta Family Initiative on Canadian Seed Security, a project of USC Canada, is spearheading training and networking opportunities for seed growers and savers. Taking things to the next level are farmer-breeders, who are developing their own locally adapted varieties of everything from wheat to bell peppers, with the support of The Bauta Family Initiative.

Finding locally adapted, organic seeds creates both challenges and opportunities in all types and sizes of production systems. A review of the book Seed Libraries and Other Means of Keeping Seeds in the Hands of the People offers insights on saving and swapping seeds. Two vegetable growers offer practical advice on developing business plans and finding equipment for producing vegetable seeds on a larger scale, and two prairie grain farmers share their thoughts on how the requirement for organic seed impacts their farm operations.

This issue’s Research Corner features the work of Canadian scientists who devote their time to collecting, preserving and assessing crop species and their wild relatives at Plant Gene Resources Canada. Meanwhile, in the livestock sector, Rare Breeds Canada is actively protecting heritage breeds and raising awareness of their value to ecological farming systems and consumers alike.

Telling inspiring stories like these is always a joy for the TCOG editorial team. We are excited that this magazine is reaching more readers than ever through sales on newsstands across Canada, along with regular subscriptions. Regular readers will note that our cover has a new look, and our website visitors will soon be treated to an updated design and enhanced online content.

We always welcome your input on the magazine! Write to us at editor@


Happy reading,

Joanne and Stephanie,

TCOG co-editors

Table of Contents

  • USC Canada's Seed Security Work Comes Home: The Bauta Family Initiative for Canadian Seed Security
    By Jane Rabinowicz
  • Local Pepper Varieties Taking Shape in Ontario
    By Dianne Dowling
  • DIY Crop Varieties: Farmers Take Control of Crop Genetics through Participatory Plant Breeding
    By Michelle Carkner
  • Growing Seed for Seed Companies on Local Organic Vegetable Farms
    By Daniel Brisebois
  • Sourcing Medium-Scaled Equipment for Canadian Vegetable Seed Producers
    By Rebecca Ivanoff
  • Research Corner: Biodiversity You Can Bank On
    By Steph Hughes
  • Putting Pulses on our Plates: Inspiration for Canadian Vegetable Seed Producers
    By Steph Hughes
  • Rare Breeds: Promoting Diversity, Great Traits and Solutions
    By Andrew Michalski
  • Sourcing Organic Seed: Where Principles and Practicalities Collide
    By Joanne Thiessen Martens
  • The Availability of Organic Seed in the Canadian Prairies: Are We Ready for Some Choices?
    By Scott Beaton