Ottawa's 20th "Seedy Saturday" took place March 2 in a community hall at Britannia Beach. The busy event featured educational booths and a number of regular seed vendors, plus workshops on saving seeds, permaculture and worm composting.
The conversation around the tables is educational in itself, as gardeners share tips on growing plants and saving seeds.
Linda MacDonald sorts the just-dropped off seeds and fields questions as people pick out what they want to take.
What's most popular? "Tomatoes! People love tomatoes! And what else? I think that they're looking for something new. Different varieties - and organic, of course. They like it because then they are sharing their seeds and they're doing something with them, yes. I think people have to be more aware of the food they are eating. Once they become aware of the information, they are choosing organic foods."
Linda MacDonald guesstimates 90 percent of the swap material is organic or home-grown, but they happily take anything people bring in to share.
Edward MacDonald likes the old varieties. "You get a tomato that's real ugly and is growing on the vine – it's unbelievable to cook with! And a lot of people forget radishes always should be fried. Put 'em in the frying pan, with a little butter - row on row - and turn 'em over and that. A wonderful flavor. There's so much that people don't understand on cooking. Especially with kale. People are just getting on to it."
At this Seedy Saturday, those who don't come with seeds to swap are welcome to make a small donation instead.