With spring planting season here, as well as rising food prices and projections the Ukraine-Russia conflict will exacerbate food insecurity everywhere, SeedChange--a non-profit organization that works with farmers to protect seeds and grow food sustainably--has announced a new initiative to help ensure a more resilient and affordable Canadian food supply.“When big players such as Ukraine and Russia can’t export their crops, Canadians have to brace themselves for continued food price increases,” said Leticia Ama Deawuo, Executive Director of SeedChange. “Add supply chain issues caused by COVID-19 and climate change playing havoc with crops, and the cracks in Canada’s food security are impossible to ignore. We need to boost local seed and food production to keep food affordable for everyone and strengthen our country’s food security.” To this end, SeedChange--which has a proven track record of helping farmers worldwide grow resilient crops by breeding and saving locally-adapted seeds--is using $750,000 in funding from Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada to launch a dozen local seed demonstration sites across the country this summer. Farmers at each location will evaluate and showcase Canadian-grown, farmer-bred seed varieties. The organization is also working with more than 200 farmers across the country on other projects to increase local seed production, save seeds at risk of extinction, and breed new seed varieties better suited for local climate and soil conditions as well as organic production. The project draws on the work of 35,000 farmers in various initiatives supported by SeedChange around the world, including new projects in Kenya, Tanzania and Ethiopia made possible by a $14.8 million funding infusion from Global Affairs Canada. “Rising food prices are hard on everyone, especially on the 1 in 10 Canadians who are already food insecure, which disproportionately affects people on low incomes, children, women and those who are Black, Indigenous or people of colour,” Deawuo said. “That’s why we urgently need to equip farmers so they can react quickly to keep their communities securely nourished. Most people already know it’s important to support local food, but Canadians can also make a big impact by looking for local seeds – which offer a beautiful diversity of delicious varieties – for their own vegetable gardens." “Not only do independent Canadian seed companies offer gardeners a wider variety of interesting fruit and vegetable seeds, but they also play a vital role in rebuilding Canada’s seed and food security." SeedChange has developed a list of Canadian seed companies gardeners can contact to buy seeds. See weseedchange.org for more.