Maritime farmers swap seeds for food security

Organic farmers from across the Maritimes say swapping their seeds improves the region's food security and could help deter any potential crop disasters.

Farmers exchanged their seeds at the annual Atlantic Canadian Organic Regional Network conference in Charlottetown on Saturday.

Growing food can be a battle for farmers, and the seeds they plant in the ground.

"Pest conditions, disease conditions, weather conditions, I need seeds that have a great diversity of genetics within them," said farmer Shannon Jones.

By blending seeds and planting various strains of vegetables, like tomatoes and potatoes, farmers can make sure if one of those conditions takes out their crop, they can adjust.

But if they stick to just one seed and disaster strikes, "then I can't have a viable business and I can't feed anybody, I can't even feed myself," said Jones.

At the annual seed swap, Jones dropped off some of the tomato seeds she's using on her farm in Northern Nova Scotia and Claire Drinnan from Cape Breton picked them up.

"Seeds are really the basis of food security. So seed security equals food security," she said.

Teresa Richards, the executive director of ACORN, said varieties of many vegetables are disappearing because food companies want their produce to all look the same. She said that lack of diversity is risky.

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