For the organiser, Chantal Bolduc, the Seed Festival is much more than simply a party. “It’s the people who come together, who want to pay attention to their planet, who work to leave something beautiful for the young. People who attend are glad to gather together to share these values.”
The sixth edition, organized by the Sawyerville Community Garden, attracted 200 persons at the Notre-Dame-du-Rosaire Church. For the occasion, the place of worship was transformed to accommodate presentations in both the upper and lower levels. This enabled the event to offer a dozen hour-long presentations, some by experts in their field.
The 10 or so producers who attended were certainly concerned about local food of high quality. On site, it was possible to find a family farmer ready to provide an abundance of fresh vegetables and fruit during the summer and fall seasons. Or guests could enjoy a lunch concocted by the volunteer team of the Community Garden, offering soups, salads, turkey pie and vegetarian lasagna, all made largely from the ingredients of these same producers.
A Growing Notoriety
Over the years, Chantal Bolduc has noticed that more and more producers have chosen to settle in the Sawyerville area. The trend is toward small agricultural businesses which occupy reduced acreage, compared to traditional crops. And certain of them have become real ambassadors of this form of local agriculture, such as the Maraîchers de l’or vert or Le Jardinier déchaîné.
In the view of the organiser, the Seed Festival is a great occasion for producers, often constrained to work in isolation, to get together with each other and with the public. Bolduc welcomes the intergenerational exchanges that are created in the context of this annual rendezvous.
As for the stars of the day, the seed producers, one could only be surprised at the variety of produce that can be grown. Be it cabbages, cantaloupes, radishes, leeks, kale or beans, the volition of the farmer seemed to be the only limit. The Semences nourricières in Dudswell, for example, offered the seeds of a dozen varieties of beefsteak tomatoes and just as many types of lettuce.
When they were not at their kiosk, the speakers covered a wide range of topics. From Lanaudière, Yvan Perreault spoke about nuts and wild mushrooms. The horticultural production teacher at the Coaticook Vocational Training Center (CRIFA), Renaud-Pierre Boucher, discussed the benefits of avoiding tilling the soil. Finally, Jean-Luc Henry, from Révolution Fermentation, demonstrated the benefits of fermenting foods through simple and ancestral techniques.