Radicle Farm | Manseau, Quebec | land of the Abenaqui people
We’ve known Marie-Claude for a handful of seasons, always eager to connect with her warm, gentle laugh and bright eyes at seed gathering both in Canada and the US. We so appreciate her humble brilliance and love sharing the seeds of diverse flowers, beans, squash, cucumbers, and peppers she loves.
How long have you been growing seed & who is your team, Marie-Claude?
I’ve been saving seeds and farming since 2014 and started my seed farm in 2018. I focus on growing organic seeds on contract for seed companies in the Northeast, both sides of the border! The use of horsepower and the act of seed stewarding bring resilience, safety and empowerment to me and my community.
The team is me, 1 to 2 part-time volunteers and our team of horses!
When did you fall in love with seed?
I was doing a gardening internship at Les Jardins du Grand-Portage, in St-Didace, Qc in 2014. It was the most beautiful garden I had ever seen and I lived in a yurt in the middle of it! I was there in August and September and spent these 2 months gathering every seed I could find, wishing that I would one day have a beautiful garden like this one. It was a significant moment for me when I got to plant these seeds where I live now, 2 years ago. Even if most of them didn’t germinate, haha!
Is there a particular memory of a friend or mentor sharing seed/seed wisdom with you that was particularly meaningful?
I would have to say that something you said during the talk that Petra, Matthew and Mel gave at EFAO conference in December 2018 is still with me today. I do not remember the exact words but it was about the way we make decisions when we select plants, how it is easy to prioritize the use of our eyes or mouth and yet how some desirable traits are invisible to our senses — and we should be careful about our tendency towards homogeneity and should give value to diversity. You probably didn’t use these exact words but that’s how they landed with me so I’m careful about my biases when I do selection and try to keep my mind open.
Do you have a favorite seed or aspect of seed growing, technical or philosophical?
Seeds are both an end and a beginning. Life and death. I like the duality and oneness of it at the same time. They are witnesses to something bigger than our minds.
Does your work with seed give you hope in any way? For our species, for our world?
I think working with seeds is an act of faith. Where there are seeds, there is hope, I just need to be patient.
Who are your key hero/heroines? Mentors? Inspirations? Human or otherwise?
My horses are great reminders to take care of myself, to take breaks, to be patient, to be humble, to be in tuned with how I’m feeling and to do things out of love.
What is something about seeds/the seed system that you wish everyone was aware of?
Saving seeds is easy and fun and more people should take part in it!
What are a few other things you love about the world beyond seeds?
Right now, I enjoy mending my workpants, I play trumpet badly but I like it, watercolours, I’m looking forward to the end of the covid-curfew to play hockey with my neighbours.
We love you, Marie-Claude! Thanks for growing seeds, among so much else, and thanks for sharing them with us and the world ~
Sow Seeds & Sing Songs,
& the whole Fruition crew