This is the month for Seedy Saturdays, which is basically a seed exchange event, but that doesn't begin to hint at the joyous energy it encompasses. The one I attended this past weekend on Salt Spring was a full on celebration of spring, as only a gathering of farmers and gardeners eager to get into the dirt can do it. The optimism in the room was phenomenal - I can honestly say I have never experienced such genuine, positive energy before.
I did buy some seeds (there must have been 25 tables of local growers offering heritage seeds), mostly winter greens, but consciously held back because I do collect and save my own seed for tomatoes, beans, herbs and peppers. I picked up a couple of books, both of which I enthusiastically recommend. The Zero-Mile Diet is the latest from Carolyn Herriot, a Victoria grower who shares her abundant knowledge of growing food year-round. Yes, we are in Canada's most balmy climate here, but Herriot's infectious enthusiasm, solid information, organic philosophy, and delicious recipes make this book one I would highly recommend for any region of Canada or the U.S.
The real surprise, and a book that should be in every library if not on your shelf, is All the Dirt, by three Saanich Peninsula farmers: Rachel Fisher, Heather Stretch, and Robin Tuncliffe. They each contribute a chapter on their personal experience as farmers, which encompasses such a compelling range of emotion, practical information and political perspective that I stayed up late reading the whole thing from cover to cover. This book brings into focus very clearly the crucial importance of small family farms, organic growing, local economies and conscious consumerism. (I bought it on the recommendation of Elizabeth May, our Member of Parliament and the Leader of the Green Party of Canada, who was at Seedy Saturday, being her gracious, dynamic and brilliant self. I was introduced to her, she shook my hand, chatted a bit and then said "You have got to check out All the Dirt, it's amazing." She was right, and I'm pretty sure she wasn't getting any kickbacks!)