Seeds of Diversity


Seeds of Diversity is a 26-year-old national bilingual organization dedicated to agricultural biodiversity. It is the Canadian NGO leader in two key areas of food system sustainability: crop genetic diversity and the redesign of pollination strategies.

Seeds of Diversity cooperates with farm groups, community agencies, seed banks, researchers and seed companies to distribute and study a gene pool of more than 100,000 crops. It has a long-standing seed exchange agreement with Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada’s national seed bank. It is the primary sponsor of the Eastern Canadian Organic Seed Growers Network, chair of the Canadian Pollinator Protection Initiative, a strategic partner in NSERC Canadian Pollination Initiative, and steering committee member of the North American Pollinator Protection Campaign.

Seeds of Diversity initiated and coordinates Seedy Saturdays, local seed exchange and sale events which now take place in over 100 communities in Canada.

Full Description

This project will help fill a currently existing gap between the institutional sector and the community sector in the areas of seed and pollinator conservation. It aims to both, increase public access to seed diversity and disseminate critical knowledge about pollination.

The project proposes to diversify seed varieties available in different regions of Canada. Seed samples of Canadian-bred, regionally-adapted crops showing resilience to climatic changes or disease and local market acceptability will be obtained from government or university seed banks and private breeders or collectors. Regional seed collections will be established through partnerships with local organizations, training seed multipliers and testers, collecting systematic data and sharing information publicly through a national web database.

Secondly, the project will help farmers increase pollination efficiency while reducing reliance on honey bees and promoting use of native bees in urban agriculture. Through research partnerships with the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) and educational work with partner organizations, the project aims to help farmers and urban gardeners make use of native bees and alternative pollinators to decrease dependence on endangered honey bees.

Seeds of Diversity

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  • 2011-2014
  • $ 240,000
  • Funding Type: Past Initiatives
  • Initiatives: Social Innovation Fund