A new seed library encourages Calgarians to grow their own food
The Calgary Seed Library is tackling issues surrounding food security and sustainability with its weekly seed exchange.
"We're a group of like-minded people," said volunteer Julie Alati-it, "We're very invested in how food security, seed preservation, and growing our own food is important to us."
Anyone can sign up for a membership at no cost, and take home whatever seeds they like – also at no cost. The library only requests that its members harvest some seeds once their plants have matured, and to bring some of those seeds back for others to enjoy.
Alati-it said many of the seeds that have been donated so far come from plants that have already weathered the dry, Chinook-prone climate in southern Alberta. She said that means these seeds have a better chance of surviving the often tumultuous weather in this region.
The 2022 Canada's Food Price Report forecasts overall food prices to rise by five per cent to seven per cent. It also estimates the average Canadian family of four will pay an additional $966 compared to last year.
"It's quite empowering," Alati-it said of growing her own food, "As someone who has experienced intense food insecurity, this is a way I can take some of that control back."
It's also been an opportunity to educate her children.
"I'm really excited that my kids will have better choices, and a better future because they know how to grow food, and where their food comes from."
Alati-it says her kids, aged five and eight, can taste the difference between store-bought and home grown produce, "When it comes to strawberries, carrots, and tomatoes, if I have bought them from a grocery store and try to give it to them, they'll just hand it right back to me."
The Calgary Seed Library is located on the lower level of The Next Page bookstore in Inglewood. Members are welcome to stop by every Thursday at 3:30 p.m. to pick up or drop off seeds. Visit their website or Instagram page for updates.