The ground may be frozen, but it’s not too early to plan what you can grow come springtime.
Seedy Saturday is an annual event held in several cities across the country. Inspired by Seeds of Diversity Canada, a national organization dedicated to the conservation of food biodiversity, the event focuses on local sustainability practices, education, and building communities with sustainable futures.
Hamilton’s own event was hosted on Feb. 4 by Green Venture, a local, environmental non-profit organization committed to facilitating sustainable living practices while realizing a cleaner and healthier community. The event saw a seed swap, a gardening book exchange, seed and garden supply vendors and educational gardening workshops.
The event also served as an opportunity for likeminded individuals and organizations to network and discuss moving forward with sustainable resources within their respected communities. Although the event’s focus pertained heavily to agriculture, discussion also revolved around what sustainability means for Hamilton, and what initiatives could further the city’s environmental practices.
“[Seedy Saturday] is about awareness and connecting the dots within the community,” said Matt Carson, volunteer at the McQuesten Urban Farm, an urban farm developed as an initiative to increase food security within the McQuesten area. “Sustainability means working towards a city that is sustainable for all to live in; addressing the lack of green spaces for lower income neighbourhoods, growing food deserts and lack of accessible transportation in large parts of the city.”
Hamilton’s 2016 to 2025 strategic plan sees environmental sustainability as one of its top priority projects. The project’s key directions include a focus on natural features that the city has to offer, leadership and awareness initiatives, and considering environmental impacts in decision making processes.
From larger projects such as the light rail transit system to smaller, local initiatives like community garden plots, Hamilton is moving towards a more sustainable city, but there is always more work to be done. Initiatives concerning sustainable transportation, food security, environmental practices and education surrounding these topics are continuously coming to light from community organizations and events just like Seedy Saturday.
“Sustainability means so many things for Hamilton, but moving forward with light rail transit and improving the current transit system and bike lanes is necessary. I really appreciate all the green space we have and I hope it always stays that way,” said Jacqueline Cantar, sustainable food systems assistant at Mohawk College’s Sustainability Office.
“Hamilton has been changing a lot lately, and I think we need to remember our city and its residents who still require attention before we celebrate too much,” she said.