The unfinished winter did not prevent some 200 people from coming out to the Complexe hôtelier Ramana on the day of the Seed Festival organized by the Sawyerville Community Garden. The activity permitted gardeners to learn more about gardening, to collect and exchange seeds, and to prepare their own garden plans.
Dedicated to the conservation and protection of diverse seeds, the annual festival promotes biodiversity and the preservation of heritage seeds, offering a multitude of varieties. From pumpkins to peanuts, a wide variety of seeds of all kinds were available, most of them organic, GMO-free, and heritage. The day was an opportunity for sharing and exchanging information about seeds as well as the seeds themselves. Chantal Bolduc, president of the Community Garden, was particularly happy about the crowds who attended. On the site could be found seeds of great rarity. “Certain traditional varieties were narrowly saved, and we encourage people to grow them,” she said. As did Louis-Pierre Boily, representative of the Écoumène seeds, specializing in centenarian seeds. “We try to protect the work of our ancestors,” he said.
The program offered various talks, workshops and presentations of all kinds. A wide range of Quebec and local products were also featured. Among the noted guests was Véronique Carbonneau, head chef of the réseau Agri-Conseil, who offered on site consultation services. Carbonneau specializes in agritourism and local cuisine. The continuous conferences offered by different speakers saw a real success. For each of them, the public filled the picturesque hall in the Ramana. Among them, Richard O’Breham spoke about the cultivation of mushrooms. “It was he who came to the Community Garden to implant the mushroom logs,” said Bolduc.
Also present to offer an informative presentation was Dominique Guay of the Ferme des Hôtes Épinettes in Cookshire, a farm of vegetables, forestry and pasture-fed poultry. She is known for ecological farming and supplying her products locally. She offers weekly vegetable baskets, and now is the time to reserve for the coming season.
Renaud-Pierre Boucher of the vocational training centre in Coaticook (CRIFA), also offered a really interesting kiosk. Full of humour, accompanied by several of his students, he offered information on a number of topics such as niche or rare markets, such as peanuts, turmeric, farming for self-sufficiency, and waste vegetables. Daniel Labonté, a multi-talented scientist and also a market gardener at the Ferme des Bocages, captured the attention of his audience during his conference on super foods and the Popeye effect. His objective was to inform people about, among other things, the deceits or confusions engendered by food marketing.
Besides the talks, many kiosks offered a wide variety of diverse products, mostly organic. For example, products created from Quebec fir resin, bath salts from the Huron village, or germination and lacto-fermentation at the Bocages farm. Other exhibits included various rare gardening tools that were available for purchase.
Visitors were able to exchange about different topics and left with a fortified body of knowledge. “People really liked the different presentations, and the day was an opportunity for sharing some beautiful values,” concluded Bolduc.
The public is invited to watch for the upcoming activities of the Sawyerville Community Garden by consulting their Facebook page.