Planting the seed

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Image shows people looking at plants near a large greenhouse.

College of the Rockies’ Creston campus recently hosted The Dan McMurray Community Seed Bank Annual Plant Sale.  Though this might seem like just any other plant sale, this particular event helps to support the Dan McMurray Seed Bank – which focuses on heirloom seed saving.

An heirloom seed is one that has a history of being passed down within a family or community, similar to the generational sharing of heirloom jewelry or furniture.  In a community with such a rich agricultural history as Creston – preserving these heirloom seeds is especially important.

The mission of the Dan McMurray Community Seed Bank is to maintain a collection of vegetable seeds that are viable, adapted to the local climate and soils, ecologically grown and true to their ancestry. Should there ever be a crisis or disaster that disrupts food supplies to the Creston Valley, these seeds would be available for use.

In 2012, when Dan McMurray passed away, the family’s seed collection was donated to College of the Rockies Creston campus and the Creston Valley Food Action Coalition, in trust for the community. This is a responsibility the College takes very seriously. We are happy to house the community seed bank, to offset supply costs, and to provide facilities for local growers to start tomato and pepper plants each year. We have also acted as administrators of previous grants to the seed bank from the Bauta Family Initiative on Canadian Seed Security. 

These previous grants aside, fundraising remains an important part of the equation – hence the annual plant sale.  We’re pleased to announce that this year’s sale was a tremendous success, raising $1170 to support heirloom seed saving efforts over the next year. Creston campus manager, Kim Garety is grateful for the community’s support. “Thank you to all the volunteers whose hard work made this possible,” she said.

As an added bonus, students from the Creston campus’ Transitions to Employment program held a barbecue and bake sale during the plant sale. After weeks for baking and preparation, they were able to raise $420 that will be used for their graduation celebration taking place at the end of June. 

Congratulations to these students on their business success!