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Our gardening story began in the year 2000, a tale interwoven with friendship, heritage, and the magic of seeds. It all started when we, alongside a group of friends, decided to breathe new life into an old Dukabor farm site in the Slocan Valley, BC. This is not just a story about growing plants; it’s about the roots of relationships and the unforeseen connections that gardening can bring.

The farm, which had been idle for decades, held untapped potential in its rich soil. Our first task was to fence the large garden area, build a propagation house, and prepare the soil for planting. At that time, we didn’t have a concrete plan. Internet searches for seeds were a few years away, and bedding plants were scarce. We started with a modest collection of our own seeds, along with some potatoes and garlic, but it was clear that we didn’t have enough to fill the space.

Fate played its hand when a friend from Vancouver visited us, bringing a cookie tin filled with garden seed packets. These seeds belonged to her recently deceased partner. But this friend, Edna Brass, was more than just a friend. To both Simon and me, she was a mentor, a mother figure, an elder, and so much more. That tin of seeds not only allowed us to grow a bountiful garden but also helped us fill a root cellar and pantry, feed several families, and collect fresh seeds for the next season.

Edna Brass’s Legacy Continues:

Edna’s spirit lives on through her seeds, even after her passing in 2013. Early in 2023, we connected with a first-year market gardener from our area on Vancouver Island. Through a simple email exchange, we discovered that she, Natasha, was related to Edna – she was her great-niece. This extraordinary revelation was deeply moving, considering the historical disconnection among Canada’s First Peoples.

As the year unfolded, our bond with Natasha deepened, culminating in a rematriation ceremony. We returned Edna’s seeds to her great-niece, who planted them with care and reverence. This act of returning seeds to their ancestral land was a powerful and emotional moment for all of us.

Now, Natasha will join us on our farm to grow field crops for the community, further strengthening our relationship. This journey has been about more than just planting seeds in the ground; it’s about planting seeds of connection and watching them grow into something beautiful and enduring.

Edna’s Seeds Live On:

For those curious, some of the original seeds from Edna’s collection, like sugar snap peas, arugula, and cilantro, are still a part of our garden and available in our seed catalogue today.

Our first season of gardening in Slocan Valley was about starting anew, not just for a farm but for connections lost and found. It’s a reminder of how gardening can transcend the act of growing food; it can grow bonds, bridge histories, and nurture communities. As we continue this journey, we carry with us the legacy of Edna and the reminder of the power held in a simple seed.