Monday, January 24, 2011

Five Shiny Purple Seeds

Scarlet Runner Bean Seeds
I hold in my hand five shiny, purple, seeds.  They have come from inside an old medicine bottle that my grandmother Mavis gifted to me many years ago.  With the seeds came a small handwritten note.

“These seeds are from your great grandfather’s garden.  He saved the seeds from his Scarlet Runner beans each year.  I thought you might want to try them out in your own garden.  Love Grandma Mavis”.

I started with eight of these purple seeds and I tried to germinate them one seed at a time over three years…careful not to waste the chance to grow the exact beans my family had feasted on two generations ago.  Each year the bean seed failed in some way and after the third failure I felt that just having the seeds themselves would have to satisfy me.

These days I keep those five seeds in my desk at the BC Legislature to remind myself of my connection to agriculture and why I entered politics. 

If you are like me, this time of year is even more exciting than the holidays because in your mailbox you will be receiving, not Christmas cards, but the  2011 Seed Catalogs. Nothing is better on a cold winter afternoon than having a hot cup of tea, a stack of seed catalogs, and the thrill that comes from planning the current years’ harvest.  Fabulous!

The value of local seed and the importance of supporting local seed companies is becoming more significant these days.  As the climate changes and our growing conditions change, local seeds are changing too.  They are evolving to conditions and hopefully adapting to the changes in our environment.  This is all part of the sustainability equation. 

It troubles me that a few major corporations have control over the majority of our seed supply.  This is not healthy for our communities, for our local economies or for the diversity and health of our seed banks.  Supporting local seed companies is investing in our future.  Supporting local seed companies also supports the economic development of our local economies.  Money spent at the local level is re-spent at the local level.  Plus it helps farmers diversify their incomes. 

Our local seed savers are playing a critical role as far as food security goes.  As my friend Dan Jason of Salt Spring Seeds says “save seeds like our lives depend on it”…because they really do.

This time of year brings one of my most favorite events into our communities.  Seedy Saturday!  Below are some of the BC Seedy Saturday locations and dates.   Maybe I will see you there!


  • Qualicum Beach, Feburary 5th, at the Qualium Beach Civic Centre (10am-4pm) Visit their site for information on an array of topics from speakers to vendors and more!
  • Salt Spring Island, Feb. 12, 2007 Held at the Farmers Institute, Salt Spring Island from 10-3pm
  • Victoria, Feburary 19th, at the Victoria Conference Centre, 720 Douglas Street Victoria (10am-3pm)
  • VanDusen Botanical Garden, Feburary 26th, 37th and Oak Street Vancouver (10am-4pm)
  • Sooke, Feburary 26th, Sooke Community Hall (10am-4pm)
  • Courtenay, March 5th, at the Filberg Centre (10am-3pm) in downtown Courtenay comprehensive vendor list (complete with e-mail and web links) available 
  • Nanaimo, March 6th, at the Bowen Park Auditorium (10am-4pm)
  • Cobble Hill, March 12th, at the Cobble Hill Hall (10am-3pm)

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Saanich is "Age-Friendly"!

The Municipality of Saanich has demonstrated impressive initiative with its efforts to make our community more “age-friendly”.

This project began in 2006 as a partnership with cities around the world and the World Health Organization. The goal is to make changes in our community which create greater inclusion for people who are older. By adapting to aging-related needs and preferences we can improve the quality of life in Saanich:
In an age-friendly community, policies, programs, services and infrastructure related to the physical and social environment are designed to enable older people to live in security, enjoy good health and continue to participate in society in a meaningful way. It takes into account the biological, psychological, behavioural, economic, social and environmental factors that operate over the course of a person’s life to determine health and well-being in later years.
Saanich has had lots of help in this project, including the province of BC, VIHA, BC Transit, Saanich Silver Threads, Seniors Serving Seniors, Saanich Volunteer Services Society and TD Canada Trust (Shelbourne St).

For more information, please visit this web page at the Municipality of Saanich:

There is always lots more that can be done. If you have ideas about what we should do in Saanich South to make our community more “age-friendly”, please let me know!


Lana Popham, MLA
250 479 4154

Friday, January 7, 2011

Festivals, Festivals, Festivals!

There are some super festivals coming up in 2011. They'll be here before you know it - get out the calendar! Here are few to wet your whistle.

The 6th annual Victoria Whisky Festival starts Friday January 21st and continues until Sunday January 23rd. All the details on their website:

The Victoria Film Festival is a fantastic way to check out the latest cutting-edge films.

The Victoria International Cycling Festival takes place this May and June. It is a celebration of "pedal power pride". There are lots of exciting events including Ryder Hesjedal's 'Tour de Victoria on May 28  and the 'Grand Prix' on May 29th.

A popular August event and the only Dragon Boat Festival in Canada to take place in a Working Harbour. Watch 90 Dragon Boat Teams from across North America race across a 500-metre water course in Victoria's Beautiful Inner Harbour.

Not to be missed! Victoria's Fringe festival runs from August 25th to Sept 4, 2011. 

And you can apply now to bring your own talent to the stage! Entrants are selected by lottery in regional categories and ten spots are reserved for in-person applications from Victoria-based companies on a first-received, first-accepted basis. 

All the details at

Of course there are lots more! Let me know your favourite and I'll in add in more soon....