Grow with us
As we wake up to the reality of a changing global economy, many of us are turning "back to basics" and revitalizing the skills and trades that our ancestors used every day to support themselves. Working in the garden, harvesting the fruits of our labour, preserving the harvest for the cold months to come, and sharing the bounty with those around us.
Hope Seeds is a business that has firm roots in the values of honesty, community, quality, and fair play. Buying your garden seed from us helps us to spread these values to our customers, our growers, our volunteers, and beyond. But there are MANY other ways that you can take part in building this business, spreading these values, and fostering within yourself the change we all want to see.
Hope Seeds is a unique seed company just by the fact that we produce and sell our own seed from our own farm. But seed production is a finickity thing, and with isolation distances, crop production sizes and seasonal limitations, we look to include seed from other organic and sustainable farms. Currently we partner with a few other farms in Eastern Canada (some as local as only about 20 km away!) to diversify our offering of locally-grown and acclimatized seed. Learn more about growing high-quality organic seeds in Eastern Canada through the Eastern Canadian Organic Seed Growers Network.
We are always ready to talk to other experienced farmers or growers that would consider putting part of their farm or gardens into seed production. Having a foundation of experience in fresh produce production, homesteading, or backyard seed saving is essential. Growing seed, like any farming venture, is a process through which you constantly learn. Hope Seeds is willing to walk with the most dedicated growers through this process, as we hope to build lasting relationships with them.
Our priority is sustainable, local agriculture. We include farmers in that priority, and offer all of our growers a fair price for high quality crops. Hope Seeds believes in the relationships between growers, and works to ensure that communication is very clear from the start through the development of grower contracts. We know from our own experience the disappointment of a failed crop due to weather, pests, disease or other uncontrollable events, and take all of these things into consideration.
See the Hope Seeds Grower Network for a list of our current growers.
The word is spreading, and Hope Seeds is becoming more and more popular with growers and gardeners across the continent. Demand for our unique and excellent selection of garden seeds is increasing rapidly, and we just can't keep it all to ourselves! Hope Seeds is happy to offer the opportunity to you to have our products in your store, garden centre or farm market stall.
How does it work? Hope Seeds has gorgeous custom-made wooden display cases (made by Fallsbrook Woodworking and more recently, Carleton Road Industries) that hold 30 different varieties of seeds. Each peg can hold up to 10 each of the 30 varieties, yet we work with you to determine a suitable starting number for your stand. In the first season, you can either buy or rent the stand and it is yours for seasons to come. We then fill the stand with either YOUR CHOICE, our BEST SELLERS, all ORGANICS, all FLOWERS, all VEGGIES, etc. - we're flexible to your preferences.
You get a wholesale discount of 25% off the retail price per pack (plus tax). As you go through the season (generally February to end-June), you can restock your big sellers, or switch varieties to accommodate your customer choices. At the end of the season (by July 31) you have the option to return up to half of your seed order for a full refund or credit to your account. Essentially, this means you commit to purchasing 50% of the seeds up front.
Thinking about it? Don't hesitate to contact us today with any questions or ideas! We're interested in working with YOU to find the arrangement that meets your needs.
For a list of our current retail locations click here.
We love being able to show off the art, work and skills of people in our community.
Here are some of the folks behind the scenes:
Red Kuri by Helen Opie of Granville, NS: http://helenopie.com/
Corn by Morgan McMahon of Kingsport, NS: http://thepaintedroad.wordpress.com/
Luke's Barn and Green Mountain Jean Richards of Dumfries, NB
Hope Seeds artwork by Leland Wong-Daugherty of South Knowlesville, NB
Custom seed cleaning equipment and retail display racks made by Fallsbrook Woodworking
Stickering and custom woodworking from Carleton Industries:
There's no better way to learn about what growing food and farming is all about than getting your hands in the dirt! WWOOF Canada is an organization that helps match willing volunteers with farms that are keen to share their experience with them. Essentially, WWOOFers offer 4-5 hours of their labour a day in exchange for room and board. There's no "typical" WWOOFer: Many come from around the world, and use the WWOOF connection to help make their travel experience more "real" and less touristy; others are seeking a taste of a different experience from their city-bound lifestyle, schooling or work.
At Hope Seeds, we have countless opportunities for WWOOFers to get involved! Tasks range from typical garden chores (planting, weeding, composting) to special seedy jobs (seed harvest, threshing - like what Guillaume is doing in the picture above!, seed cleaning), assisting with our farm market stall during the summer, and getting involved with our sustainable hardwood lot management (i.e. bringing in the firewood!).
We offer WWOOFers a very comfortable private room in our old farmhouse, 3 nourishing and homegrown meals each day, lots of opportunity to work both right along with us and on your own, and great company (if I do say so myself!). Hope Seeds also has an extensive resource library on organic farming and seed production. We want to share what we know (and what we want to learn) about growing seeds, growing organically, and running a sustainable farm business. So - ask lots of questions, and we'll find the answers together.
If you are interested in the short-term volunteering opportunity that WWOOF offers, visit the WWOOF website and become a member today! Feel free to contact us to discuss the possibilities.
Yup...that's how it all began for me! Once I had the idea that farming was something I wanted to REALLY learn about, and learn-by-DOING, I sought out the opportunity to work for a season on an organic farm, from planting to harvest. Everdale Environmental Learning Centre in Hillsborough, ON was my apprentice farm and where I got my first exposure to seed saving. I honestly think that 6 months of back-bending, muscle-building, character-strengthening, and food-appreciating education was every bit as valuable as the 4 years I spent in university.
If you are considering organic farming as a career, or starting a homestead or small farm to support your family, then I strongly recommend going beyond the WWOOF experience of a few days on the farm, to apprenticing for a season or two. Get the picture from "start to finish": take part in the crop planning process, get the seeds in the ground, care for seedlings and deal with the pests, bring in the harvests and sell the fruits of your labour.
In 2009 Hope Seeds hosted two phenomenal women as apprentices for a 6-month hands-on learning experience. Colleen Prentice of Three-Fathom Harbour, NS and Carolyn Cismoski of Davis, CA planned, planted, dug, picked, scratched, saved, sold and studied way beyond our highest expectations. In 2010, WWOOFers were the mainstay of our additional farm labour during this year of transition to the new farm in Belleisle, NS. Kate O'Brien of Mount Shasta, CA started her apprenticeship in April 2011, jumping in to seed potato shipping, seedling starts and crop planning. Kate brought a year of market farming experience with her, and added organic seed production to her skills as a result of her apprenticeship here. What made these three gals successful apprentices? Their self-directed learning, patience, tenacity and passion for living an agricultural life.
2014 marked the first year that we participated as a host farm in ACORN's Grow A Farmer program. This was a unique apprenticeship program focused on learning about commercial organic/heritage seed production, made possible through funds from the Bauta Family Initiative on Canadian Seed Security. Visit the Grow A Farmer blog for more information about this program.
We're looking forward to working with people who are genuinely interested and curious, hard working and ready to learn. Organic seed production is the foundation of what we do at Hope Seeds, and apprentices will be integrated into our seasonal tasks. We continue to settle in to new ground in Belleisle, and projects to revive this old farmstead are plentiful. Apprentices may have the opportunity to help with: fencing, clearing paddocks, lean-to construction, breaking ground and soil building, workdays on friend's farms, food preservation and more.
There's always something happening here on the farm!