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Speakers 2017 – Victoria Seedy Saturday

Saturday February 18, 10 am – 4 pm

Is there a talk that you MUST hear? Then please get yourself into the line up at the door in plenty of time (at least 15 minutes before the start). Rooms have a fixed capacity, strictly enforced by the fire marshal. Admission is on a first come, first served basis; when the room reaches capacity we must turn everyone else away. Thanks for your understanding.


Planting the Seed (Limited seating for 30)

Linda Petite, HCP

Saanich 2 Room

Linda Petite-100x95Why start plants from seed? Mother Nature germinates millions of seeds each year with no fuss at all. You can do the same! Enjoy the satisfaction of growing plants from seed to harvest, save money on your food bill, and share your favourites with friends and neighbours.

A certified Plant Technician, NSAC, Linda has been the Head Gardener at the HCP for seven years. The not-for-profit society provides horticulture education, and develops and maintains 109 acres of both demonstration gardens and conservation park. The HCP is home to the Pacific Horticulture College and hosts private and public events.

Edible Landscaping for Small Urban Gardens

Tayler Krawczyk and Solara Goldwynn, Hatchet & Seed, Edible Landscaping & Eco-Design

Oak Bay Room

taylerkrawczyk-100x95‘Edible Landscaping’ is exactly as it sounds. It straddles the line between formal landscaping (trees, shrubs, herbs, garden paths, patios, trellises, pergolas) and urban orcharding/farming! Both an art and a science, with solid design and good planning you can create natural organic landscapes that nourish you with seasonal fruits, berries, and vegetables. This presentation will use case studies to show how edible landscapes can be beautiful and productive, including growing efficiently in small spaces, such as wicking beds and vertical growing.

solaragoldwynn-100x95Tayler Krawczyk and Solara Goldwynn run Hatchet & Seed, an edible landscaping and applied permaculture business based in North Saanich. They help people turn boring, unproductive landscapes into abundant edible gardens and micro-orchards. They also run a micro-plant nursery, specializing in perennial edible plants.

Greenhouse Growing for Year-round Food Production

Shawn Dirksen, Northstar Organics

Sidney Room

Shawn Dirksen-100x95Victoria’s mild maritime climate means the protected environment of even the most basic greenhouse allows for impressive yields of food year-round! This talk introduces you to the various crops that thrive in an unheated greenhouse in each season, and looks at the options for greenhouse structures, irrigation, and soil fertility considerations specific to greenhouses.

Shawn Dirksen is a life-long farming enthusiast. He grew up on a mixed greenhouse and tender fruit farm in the Niagara region, later starting a large commercial cucumber greenhouse operation. Recognizing the environmental, social, and personal benefits of small scale organics, Shawn started small mixed greenhouse and field farms in the Gulf Islands and on the Saanich Peninsula. He operates a one-acre organic farm that is part of the Haliburton Community Organic Farm, and recently acquired acreage on Bear Hill Road.

Pruning without Fear

Barrie Agar, Horticulturalist, Hatley Park/RRU

Colwood Room

barrie-agar-100x95Come to this session to learn how to confidently wield those pruners! This session includes an overview of plant growth and how that relates to pruning, necessary tools and equipment, and some basic pruning techniques.

Barrie began her horticultural life in a market garden followed by agricultural college in Ireland, then working at different specialty nurseries in both Canada and Ireland. She taught in the Horticultural Technician Program at VIU, and currently is the Head Gardener at Hatley Park/Royal Roads University.

Vancouver Island Butterflies

Mike Yip, Nature Photographer

View Royal Room

mikeyip-100x95This session introduces you to the 70 species of butterflies found on Vancouver Island, with specific emphasis of those found in the Victoria region. Learn about butterfly development, host plants, food requirements, and nectar plants (flowers) to encourage and enhance their presence in your garden!

While best known for his photography of Vancouver Island birds, Mike recently focused his attention on butterflies and collaborated with James Miskelly to publish Vancouver Island Butterflies. He’s a prolific photographer of nature and has authored and published six books, two of which are Canadian best-sellers.


Peddling Flower Petals

Jeff de Jong, Horticulturalist

Oak Bay Room

Jeff de Jong - 100x95There is a lot of buzz around the importance of planting a diverse flowering landscape for the health of its pollinators. We in turn benefit from increased yields of fruits and vegetables. Why not take things even further? Growing flowers for sale from your own back yard can be rewarding and even profitable. Easy-to-grow seed flowering plants or long lived perennials can fill you with joy and add some padding to your wallet. Learn about unusual and exceptional flowers you can grow that are ideal for cut floral display to keep your home beautiful inside out.

Jeff teaches a variety of garden topics, and presents to garden groups and Home and Garden shows across North America. He is the popular host of Gardening 101 the Sunday gardening show on CFAX 1070AM. Jeff is a garden writer, photographer, and leader of garden tours.

Vegetable Root Diseases: Getting to the Root of the Problem

Linda Gilkeson, West Coast Gardening

Sidney Room

Linda Gilkeson - 100x95Unseen organisms lurking in the soil with the potential to cause root diseases worry vegetable gardeners. Many diseases are easy to avoid when you know more about the organisms that cause them. Learn how to identify and manage a variety of garlic bulb diseases (including the dreaded White Rot), Erwinia in carrots and, the now widespread Clubroot of the cabbage family.

With a Ph.D. in Entomology, Linda has had careers in a biological control company, the provincial government, and the Salt Spring Island Conservancy. As a private consultant, she regularly instructs Master Gardener programs and teaches pest management and organic gardening. Linda wrote Year Around Harvest: Winter Gardening on the Coast, West Coast Gardening: Natural Insect, Weed and Disease Control (2013), and Backyard Bounty: The Complete Guide to Year-round Organic Gardening in the Pacific Northwest. Her latest publication, Resilient Gardens 2017: Pollinator Gardens, Garlic Diseases, Pest Update, will be available at Seedy Saturday.

To Peat or Not to Peat: Choosing and Mixing the Right Growing Medium for Container Gardening

Christina Nikolic, The Organic Gardener’s Pantry

Colwood Room

Christina Nicolic - 100x95Disappointed with results of growing food or plants in containers? Gardeners have a wide range of options – from locally made bagged potting soils, to peat or coir products from faraway places, to mixing their own. Which product is best? What are the pros and cons of some available materials? You will come away with a list of resources, a basic mixing recipe plus a variety of amendments, and some tips and tricks based on the beneficial relationships between plants, soil, and microorganisms.

Christina’s background is landscape architecture and over the years she’s designed many residential Victoria gardens. These days she runs her own business selling organic fertilizers and soil amendments across Canada. She is a senior instructor at Gaia College teaching the Organic Master Gardener course, and is a longtime board member of SOUL (Society for Organic Urban Land Care). In her spare time Christina can be found with a smile on her face, spreading mulch.

Good Food for All By 2025? – What You Can Do!

Jess Bossert, Operations Manager, Capital Regional Food and Agriculture Initiative Roundtable (CRFAIR)

View Royal Room

jess-bossert-100x95When we talk about everyone having Good Food in the Capital Region, we mean food that is produced in a way that is good for the planet, is viable for the producer or supplier, and contributes to the health and well-being of all. Can we increase our production and consumption of local foods from under 10% to 25%? Can we reduce food insecurity from 14% to 10%?  Can we ensure that everyone has skills, knowledge and the connections necessary to have Good Food? These are the goals of the Good Food Network for 2025. Join the conversation and learn about key strategies and practical things you can do right now for Good Food in the Capital Region.

As CRFAIR Operations Manager, Jess has worked with an array of food security organizations and stakeholders in the Capital Region on the development of the Good Food Network and the strategies and targets of Good Food 2025. When not at his desk, you will find Jess on his little farm in Central Saanich tending his garden, goats, chickens and pigs.


No Space? No Problem: Cultivate Creatively in Vertical Gardens

Donna Balzer, Horticultural Columnist

Oak Bay Room

donnabalzer-100x95Multiply your yields faster than breeding bunnies without expanding your space. Let food spill over your balcony and patio, climb up your wall, or push into that skinny patch between wall and fence. Growing more food more efficiently by growing vertically lets you raise more edibles in a smaller space than you thought possible. Tips, techniques, and hand-outs guarantee great success this season.

Donna is a home gardener and speaker who is passionate in sharing the message of food security and world connectivity with her audiences. She has a degree in Agriculture with a specialty in Horticulture. Donna is co-host of HGTV’s TV show “Bugs & Blooms”, filmed in Canada and aired internationally, and was a CBC radio guest (Alberta@Noon) reporting live from the backyards of Alberta (2016). She is a seasonal Garden Columnist for the Calgary Herald Newspaper showcasing stories that interest gardeners and readers to inspire them to grow the best gardens ever!

Embracing the Wild

Jay Rastogi, Site Manager, Swan Lake Christmas Hill Nature Sanctuary

Sidney Room

jayrastogi-100x95Want to know more about wild edibles growing here on Vancouver Island? And which wild and naturalized food plants can be tended in your own garden? Every season brings new and exciting discoveries. Augmenting your meals with wild foods can be very rewarding and connects you to nature in a very meaningful way. This session will cover some easy-to-use wild and naturalized greens, berries, and the plethora of plants which make wonderful herbal infusions (including one native plant that contains caffeine).

Jay’s interests include nature observation and promoting sustainable land stewardship and self-sufficiency. He is especially fond of growing food and foraging for wild plants and mushrooms.

City of Boulevard Gardens

Michael Large

Colwood Room

MichaelLarge-100x95In mid-2014, the City of Victoria officially began permitting property owners (and other folk, with the owner’s informed consent) to garden on the boulevards adjacent to their properties. Learn the basic techniques, benefits, and pitfalls associated with boulevard gardening, with close consideration given to the Boulevard Gardening Guidelines implemented by the City. Through street greening, we can bring new meaning to the “City of Gardens”.

Michael is a local lawyer and boulevard gardener, who played a leading volunteer role in developing “Boulevard Gardening Guidelines” for the City of Victoria. He founded “”, co-founded ‘The Fair Field’ (a boulevard garden on Fairfield near Cook), and helps maintain three boulevard gardens in front of other people’s homes (with their informed consent).

Engaging Youth in Good Food!

Eden Murray, Youth Coordinator, Capital Regional Food and Agriculture Initiative Roundtable (CRFAIR)

View Royal Room

eden-murray-100x95Good Food is good for the planet, good for the producers, and good for the health and well-being of us all. CRFAIR’s Youth Food Action Team (YFAT) wants more good food in the region and would like to tell you all about it! Come learn how to engage youth in Good Food from an inspiring team of young and motivated youth that are not only learning about good food themselves, but have a goal of educating their community about it. Whether you are a youth yourself, work with youth, or have some wonderful youth in your life, this is the workshop for learning more about the Youth Food Action Team and youth involvement in food security in the Capital Region!

Eden is a high school student, organizer of her school’s (food) Garden Club, and CRFAIR’s Youth Food Action Team coordinator. She is passionate about education, food security and environmental leadership. When not at school, Eden teaches kids capoeira classes and gets around town on her bike.


Home Scale Seed Growing:  A Beginner’s Guide to Growing and Saving Seeds (Limited seating for 30)

Elodie Roger

Saanich 2 Room

elodieroger-100x95This session will take you on the journey of growing and saving your own seeds. While learning about seed saving, seed storage, and the planning of your seed garden, tap into the notion of trait selection. Presented by a passionate seed grower, explore the beauty of seeds and plant diversity, a heritage that we owe to perpetuate. This is an opportunity for any gardener or farmer to exchange and better understand the issues around food security and seed sovereignty.

Elodie holds a passion for seeds and seed diversity. Her background revolves around the field of conservation, with experience working overseas on various project including GIS mapping and human-wildlife conflict in the UK and socio-ecological landscape for biodiversity conservation in India. While at Metchosin Farm, she became an active seed grower working with over 150 varieties of vegetable, herbs and native plants. Learning from local seed growers and international experts such as Dr. Vandana Shiva, Elodie continues to focus on issues and strategies to alleviate the loss of our food diversity.     

Mushrooms of Southern Vancouver Island

Andy MacKinnon, Forest Ecologist

Sidney Room

andymackinnon-100x95Fungi are a diverse and important group of organisms on southern Vancouver Island. They can be delightful, delicious, or deadly – and occasionally all three together. This talk will explore the mushrooms and associated fungi of southern Vancouver Island, focusing on the role of these fungi in our fields and forests (and occasionally our fridges!), and how to identify them

A Metchosin resident, Andy worked for the BC Forest Service for three decades, mostly on BC’s coast. He was responsible for ecosystem classification and mapping, as well as forest ecology research focused on old growth structure and composition, effects of climate change, and BC’s native plants and fungi. He’s been involved in defining and implementing ecosystem-based management in Haida Gwaii and the Great Bear Rainforest. Andy co-taught rainforest ecology field courses in Bamfield (for UVic) and Haida Gwaii (for UBC) and co-authored six books about plants of western North America. He is an SFU Adjunct Professor, a BC Professional Forester and Biologist, and was awarded an Honorary Doctor of Science degree by SFU in 2013.

An A – Z of Urban Livestock

Chris Adams, Urban Farmer

Colwood Room

chrisadams-100x95Hold on to your hats as you romp through a discussion of the delights and perils of keeping livestock healthy and safe in the city. In this session, you’ll discuss best (and not-so-best) practices for integrating animals large and small into urban gardens – all the while asking the important question: can we close the food security loop without respectfully bringing animals into our growing systems?

While living in the UK, Chris worked with many of Europe’s most radical growers, thinkers, and activists. Upon returning to Victoria seven years ago, he immediately established an urban farm to provide for the needs of his growing family. While he may fantasize about Victorian walled kitchen gardens and broad acre agroforestry, Chris is more than content pushing the limits of urban subsistence farming, playing with small-scale propagation and raising his children in the neighbourhood he grew up in.