Organic Vegetable Seed Production - Abbotsford

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Maple Lane Agriculture Innovation Centre

29155 Mctavish Rd

Abbotsford, British Columbia V4X2E7


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Event description


Demand for organic seed is increasing across North America and many regions of BC offer a great growing environment for seed crops. On-farm seed production can bring additional revenue to your farm and help you grow seed optimally suited to your farm environment. Relevant to both farmers and gardeners, this workshop will get you well on your way to successful organic seed production

Morning Workshop Overview

Join long-time organic seed producer and founding member of the BC Eco Seed Co-op, Mel Sylvestre, for this one-day seed production workshop and field day at the FarmFolk CityFolk Research and Education Seed Farm in Abbotsford. This full-day workshop includes both classroom and field time as Mel covers the fundamentals of seed production before we head to the field to look at crops in the ground.

Growing seed is one thing but marketing and selling it is another. Chris Thoreau from FarmFolk CityFolk will present FFCF's research and resources on contract seed growing, seed enterprise budgets, and introduce the BC Eco Seed Co-op as a means of marketing your seed crops.

Afternoon Field Day Portion

The afternoon field portion will be held at a local farm yet to be determined!

Mel and Chris will take us on a walk through some crops to look at selection, roguing, and other important considerations when growing a seed crop.

We'll also introduce on-farm seed cleaning and the new FarmFolk CityFolk Mobile Seed Cleaning Unit. We'll look at multiple ways to clean seed and have some seed on hand to practice with.

Workshop fees include lunch and morning beverages.

Workshop Agenda


- Morning beverages and snacks
- Participant and instructor introductions
- Overview of seed production and on-farm selection
- Self- and cross-pollinating crops and pollination mechanisms
- Annual and biennial seed crop production
- Maintaining genetic integrity
- Population sizes
- Isolation distances
- Isolation structures
- Seed Processing
- Wet-seeded crops
- Dry-seeded crops
- Scale-appropriate equipment
- Seed storage
- Seed contracts and financial planning
- Seed production support resources in BC

-Break for catered lunch-

Afternoon - FFCF Research and Education Seed Farm

Farm tour
- Setting up and planting seed crops
- Crop selection and roguing
- Presentation of the New FFCF Mobile Seed Cleaning Unit!

About the Presenters

Mel Sylvestre has been a small-scale organic farmer for 15 years and holds a BSc. in Soil and Plant Science for UBC. Her agricultural focus revolves around seed production. In 2013, she founded the BC Eco Seed Co-op, the first co-operative of vegetable seed producers in Canada. She is currently working as the Perennial and Biodiversity Coordinator at UBC Farm and coordinates the UBC Farm Seed Hub which include seed crop production, breeding projects, and variety trials. Mel is also trained as an organic inspector and volunteer on a certification committee in BC.

Chris Thoreau has been engaged in small-scale and urban food production in BC since 2001 as a farmer, educator, community organizer, and advocate. His career began in Victoria, BC operating a certified organic farm for 6 years where he first started working with seed. He learned the essentials of plant breeding and seed saving through local workshops and training with Washington State's Organic Seed Alliance as well through mentorship from an active community of vegetable seed growers across BC. Since 2008, Chris has been based in Vancouver, BC where he received his BSc. in Agroecology in 2011 from UBC - focusing his studies on urban farming, soil management, and small-scale plant breeding.

Farm Hygiene

A portion of this event will be taking place on a working farm so we request your assistance in reducing the risk of importing disease or pests during your visit. If you are coming from another farm for this workshop, you can help by,

  • Wearing non-farm clothing to the field day

  • If wearing farm footwear, please spray clean with water and sanitize with a bleach spray before coming to the field day

  • Do not bring any tools or other items which may be contaminated with soil or have the potential to carry disease spores

In general, please be mindful about this risk and do what you can to reduce the import and export of disease between farms in your area.

Event Questions? email


Registration is non-refundable but can be transferred to someone else or used towards a different, approved, FarmFolk CityFolk event.

All event registrants will be added to our monthly BC Seeds newsletter list. Pictures and videos from the event may be used in promotional materials for FarmFolk CityFolk's seed security programs. Your registration in this workshop constitutes your approval for these actions. We do not sell or provide our participant lists to other organizations or use these lists for commercial purposes.

This information is collected by FarmFolk CityFolk under 26(c) of the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act and will be used for project delivery. Should you have any questions about the collection of this personal information please contact


This event is funded in part by Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada and the Government of British Columbia through the Agri-Food Futures Fund. This program is delivered by the Investment Agriculture Foundation of B.C.

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Maple Lane Agriculture Innovation Centre

29155 Mctavish Rd

Abbotsford, British Columbia V4X2E7


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