A large government or institute run seed bank is set up to store thousands upon thousands of seed and gene samples almost indefinitely. Samples are vacuum-sealed and tucked away in deep freezes, meant to come out only if and when they are needed. These seed banks are run like long-term investments: once the deposit is made, the investment isn’t touched.
But The Populuxe Seed Bank isn’t quite set up that way. Myself, and a few helpful growers every year, have set up this bank in a more accessible way. The purpose of this seed bank is to distribute our varieties to as many growers as possible throughout the world.
Every 7-10 years, a variety is regrown, seed is saved, and part of the fresh seed is put back into storage. The remaining amount is then redistributed to other seed preservation groups, as well as to home gardeners who are interested in growing these varieties. Many home gardeners then go on to grow and share the seed themselves, helping to ensure the variety is kept alive and well.
The purpose of the seed bank is to preserve, but to preserve by sharing as widely as possible. A variety might be stored away for fifty years and be viable, but if there is only the one source for that seed, has it really been preserved?
This is a bank by people for people. No company or government should own our food chain, and that’s what this bank stands for.
The Populuxe Seed Bank has some ambitions and goals to help reach those aims of preserving genetic diversity.
- Seeds will be stored in cool and cold temperature storage to ensure viability.
- The seed bank will grow out as many varieties as possible on a rotating schedule to keep seed viable. Sometimes this will require the help of other growers around the world to grow out a variety or two and then ship a storable quantity of seeds back to me.
- Seed collected from grow outs will be distributed as widely as possible before being restored to the bank. Anybody that wants the seed to grow, is welcome to it!
- Collect as many rare and family heirlooms as possible to be stored, and to be redistributed to anybody who would like them.
- Collect as much documentation and histories on the seeds in the bank as possible so the stories are not lost.
- Spread information about how home gardeners can create their own seed banks.
My name is Kelly, and I started this bank in 2007 with only a handful of rare varieties. I wanted to keep and preserve these varieties, but couldn’t see much of a point if I was the only person with them. So I set up this seed bank, and over the ensuing years, the bank became home to hundreds of varieties.
The seed bank first started with me in Nelson, BC, moved to Victoria, BC, and finally moved back to my home city with me in Edmonton, Alberta.
Through the help of several dedicated growers each year, between all of us, we are able to currently regrow, share, and store 80-100 varieties per year.
The Populuxe Seed Bank is not affiliated with any companies, governments, or institutions. It is run by myself, with the assistance of independent growers.