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The Bauta Family Initiative

on Canadian Seed Security

USC Canada is proud to launch the Bauta Family Initiative on Canadian Seed Security.

Nine out of every ten bites of food around the world today begin with seed. From Newfoundland to British Columbia, Canadians coast-to-coast will soon benefit from a program to build a more secure and diverse ‘made-in-Canada’ seed supply. Thanks to a generous grant from The W. Garfield Weston Foundation, the Bauta Family Initiative on Canadian Seed Security will promote local and diverse seed.

The program will feature training, applied research, market development, and support for expanded production and improved public access to seed. It will be delivered in close collaboration with regional partners across the country, and Seeds of Diversity Canada, which has demonstrated great leadership in conserving seed biodiversity since 1995.

Gretchen Bauta, the initiator of this program and daughter of W. Garfield Weston, has shown remarkable passion in her support of seed security and environmental conservation. Gretchen explains, “The issue of seed security in Canada came to my attention through my friendship with Sharon Rempel, a pioneer advocate for heritage wheat. I am pleased to be able to work with USC Canada and their network of Canadian farmers to create sustainable food sources for the future, adaptable to climate variation and readily accessible to growers.”

The Canadian food system relies on a handful of varieties of a few major crops. The seeds that produce these crops are largely bred for uniformity and performance under controlled conditions. Canadian farmers who want to grow biodiverse vegetables and grains must often purchase seeds from the US, Europe, or further afield. In an age of ever-changing growing conditions, food security requires locally grown seeds with the genetic diversity needed to adapt to tomorrow’s climates.

Thanks must be extended to the many Canadian seed advocates who have worked for years, mostly as volunteers, to lay the groundwork for this effort. Built on this solid foundation, the Bauta Family Initiative on Canadian Seed Security will work with seed producers, farmers, farmer organizations, seed banks, organic industry partners, researchers in plant genetics and climate, governments, and food organizations to at least double the production and spread of biodiverse, locally-adapted seed.

USC Canada is one of Canada’s longest-standing international NGOs and has worked extensively with smallholder food producers around the world. It is farmers like these who feed the majority of our planet’s population. They have bred an impressive 5000 crops and donated over 2.1 million varieties of seed to the world’s gene banks. Here in Canada, the Bauta Family Initiative on Canadian Seed Security will value and strengthen this kind of innovation.

The program has an official start date of February 1, 2013.

For further information, contact: