The BC Seed Trials is a collaboration between:

  • Bauta Family Initiative on Canadian Seed Security
  • University of British Columbia
  • FarmFolk CityFolk

With extension support from:

  • University of Fraser Valley
  • BC Eco Seed Co-op


Program Management Team


Alexandra Lyon is a Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the Centre for Sustainable Food Systems and the UBC Farm. She recently earned her PhD in Environment and Resources at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where researched the seed needs of the organic vegetable sector and coordinated variety trials on organic farms as part of the Northern Organic Vegetable Improvement Collaborative (NOVIC). She is excited to apply this experience in BC and looks forward to learning from local seed and vegetable growers about their challenges, priorities, and farming practices.


Chris Thoreau has been engaged in small-scale organic food production since 2001 as a farmer, educator, program manager, and advocate. Chris has been based in Vancouver, BC since 2008 where he attended the University of British Columbia’s Agroecology program. He received his B. Sc. (Hons) in 2011, focusing his studies on urban farming, soil management, and small-scale plant breeding. He currently manages the Vancouver Food Pedalers Cooperative.


Melanie Sylvestre has 12 years’ experience in small-scale organic production and holds a B.Sc. in Soil and Plant Science from UBC. She integrated seed production to her farming practice in 2007 and has since been increasing the amount of space and time seed takes in her life. In 2012, she initiated the Seed Hub at UBC Farm, a project focus on the convergence of seed production, education, research, and community building.


Shauna MacKinnon has been working in the food sustainability sector for over fifteen years leading projects on community engagement, market research, communications, and private sector partnerships. Recent work includes the management and implementation of the BC Organic Brand Strategy , leading the Canada Organic Trade Association’s west coast presence and authoring a suite of Canadian organic market research reports . Shauna has a M.A. in Geography from the University of Guelph where she received the first Organic Crop Improvement Association scholarship to support social science research in the organic sector.


Carla Hick is a Red Seal Chef, has a BSc in Agroecology and has also earned certifications in Organic Vegetable Seed Production and Permaculture Design. She is very passionate about food whereby holding a holistic philosophy of food. A seed-to-table-to-soil perspective provides a systems thinking and bottom-up approach to improving food-related issues. Carla has been working with the BC Seed Trials project for 2 years and has now officially moved to the FarmFolk CityFolk team to pursue wider seed security initiatives. She is particularly excited to amalgamate her knowledge, training and experience to affect positive change in the agricultural sector, particularly in the realm of seed security.


Rae Kramer is an MA student at UBC in the Institute for Resources, Environment, and Sustainability working under the supervision of Dr. Terre Satterfield and Dr. Jiaying Zhao. Her research is focused on how perceptions of foods and farming systems affects consumer decision making. She completed her BA at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in Environmental Science and Anthropology. She has been involved in with with the UBC Farm since September 2017 and is excited to join the seed trials research team for its final year.

Program Collaborators
The Bauta Family Initiative on Canadian Seed Security is a national program working with farmers and partners to build a diverse and resilient Canadian seed system through:
  • Increasing the quality, quantity, and diversity of ecologically-grown Canadian seed
  • Promoting public access to seed
  • Facilitating information-sharing and collaboration among individuals and organizations committed to advancing an ecological and diverse seed system in Canada
  • Respecting, advancing, and promoting the knowledge of farmers in seed and food production

The Centre for Sustainable Food Systems (CSFS), located at UBC Farm, is a unique research centre that aims to understand and fundamentally transform local and global food systems towards a more sustainable, food secure future. The centre is a living laboratory, committed to finding solutions to both the local and global challenges facing food systems sustainability and translating solutions to improve personal, community, and environmental health.

University of Fraser Valley Agriculture Centre of Excellence is a joint venture including the University of British Columbia (UBC), Kwantlen Polytechnic University (KPU), Thompson Rivers University (TRU), Okanagan College (OC), British Columbia Institute of Technology (BCIT), Vancouver Island University (VIU), and the University of the Fraser Valley (UFV). Building on the strengths and expertise of each college, institute, and university, we will create a cohesive and efficient Agriculture Network of assisting and embracing the present and future challenges of agriculture and related industries within BC.

BC Eco Seed Co-op is a producers’ co-operative committed to vegetable, herb, grain, flower, and cover crop seed that is ecologically grown, open-pollinated, regionally adapted, held in the public domain, and GE-free.Our mission is to increase the quantity and improve the quality of ecological and organic seed grown in BC. We believe that seed sovereignty is an essential part of sustainable bioregional food systems.

FarmFolk CityFolk is a not-for-profit society that works to cultivate a local, sustainable food system. Our projects provide access to & protection of foodlands; support local growers and producers; and engage communities in the celebration of local food.