The Uptown Urban Farming Collective, which is organizing the Alberni Valley’s online Seedy Saturday for 2021, includes Mike Youds, Theresa Szymanis, Stephen Fisher-Bradley, Jen Fisher-Bradley, Colleen Leary and Bob Leary. (PHOTO COURTESY MIKE YOUDS)

The Uptown Urban Farming Collective, which is organizing the Alberni Valley’s online Seedy Saturday for 2021, includes Mike Youds, Theresa Szymanis, Stephen Fisher-Bradley, Jen Fisher-Bradley, Colleen Leary and Bob Leary. (PHOTO COURTESY MIKE YOUDS)

Alberni Valley Seedy Saturday goes online for 2021

Many of the same vendors can be found online, but ambience isn’t the same

The Alberni Valley’s Seedy Saturday event is going online for 2021.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has been hard on everything, including Seedy Saturday. In 2020 there was no event and many people were very disappointed,” said Jen Fisher-Bradley, one of the organizers with the Uptown Urban Farm Collective.

“It’s a rite of spring across Canada.”

The collective spent the past year looking at online options, and have found a way to offer the event virtually. The one-day event attracted an average of 450 people in 2018 and 2019, the first two years it was held at Char’s Landing. There was no way to hold an event with that kind of participation under COVID-19 restrictions, she said.

READ: PROGRESS 2019: Collective wisdom grows in Port Alberni

Local seed vendors that usually show up to the in-person event are selling their product online this year.

The online event kicked off March 15 and will run to April 15. Organizers are considering extending the sale until May, if vendors agree. Locally acclimatized seeds can be purchased at localline.ca/avssonline.

Customers can pay for their seeds via e-transfer. Contactless pickup will be at Mirabel Urban Farm in South Port; the location will be given out at the time of payment, Fisher-Bradley said.

“We’re missing coming together,” she said. “It’s something that has been hard on our community, that we can’t get together.”

Fisher-Bradley and her husband Stephen have worked behind the scenes on Seedy Saturday for a decade. They are now part of a small group of urban farmers who promote the idea of working as a collective—sharing energy and knowledge so everyone’s farm may thrive.

Hosting the annual Seedy Saturday family event has been a highlight for Charlene Patterson of Char’s Landing, “as it offered the promise of new life and bountiful harvests by inspiring our community of growers,” she said.

Char’s Landing is the perfect setting for the Seedy Saturday event, said Mike Youds, who is part of the Uptown Urban Farming Collective.

“When you get a small venue like that, you get the right spirit. People are anxious to get back into their gardening. Also, because (Patterson) is a social enterprise, this is a cooperative effort.”

Patterson said she found comfort from the stresses of the pandemic while cultivating her garden. She has trees, flowers herbs and for 2021 is hoping for some vegetables to thrive in the gardens around her Argyle Street building.

Patterson said she looks forward to the day she can open her doors again to public events “and welcome back our friends, in person.”



susie.quinn@albernivalleynews.com

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