Despite the dropping temperatures and fresh snow, some forward thinking Merrittonians have come together to support the growth of the community in a quite literal way. Members of the Nicola Valley Community Garden Society recently announced their new seed exchange program, including the installation of a brightly coloured seed exchange box at the Nicola Valley Community Garden on Reid Avenue. 

The seed exchange program in Merritt is the brainchild of local resident Sarah Sandusky, who planned and implemented the exchange box with the help of her family members Ivan and Nick Kzanoski. The project was supported financially by Neighbourhood Small Grants and the Vancouver Foundation, and administered by The Association of Neighbourhood Houses BC. Sandusky said that the initiative is one that looks to enhance food security and engage the public. 

“Seed packages tend to contain more seeds than one gardener can use at a time, so extras can be swapped for others in the cabinet,” said Sandusky. 

“With food prices increasing, families can affordably diversify their garden plots with shared seeds.”

The seed exchange is now open, and located at the Nicola Valley Community Community Gardens behind the hospital. Local farm and garden supply store, Purity Feed, donated seeds to kick off the swapping between neighbours. Locals can access the seed exchange and diversify their garden plots, all while leaving behind any unwanted or leftover seeds themselves. 

The Nicola Valley Community Garden Society, which facilitates the use of the garden and the seed exchange, has been active in Merritt for a number of years. The organization promotes the benefits of gardening and growing your own food, and often donates produce from its garden to the Nicola Valley Food Bank.

The seed exchange box is located in the gazebo within the Nicola Valley Community Garden, located at 2301 Reid Avenue in Merritt.