The KASSI Living Seed Commons

In our March 11, 2021 presentation, Cathy Christie let us know how to obtain locally-adapted open-pollinated seeds from the KASSI (Kingston Area Seed System Initiative) Living Seed Commons.

The beauty of seeds is rivalled only by their purpose

From “The Seed Garden, The Art and Practice of Seed Saving” ed Lee Buttala and Shanyn Siegel

KASSI is a non-profit organization founded by local farmers, gardeners, and community members whose goal is to increase seed and food sovereignty for the Kingston Area by:

  • growing out locally adapted, open-pollinated seeds from the KASSI Living Seed Commons to save and share
  • building a community of skilled seed savers 
  • supporting the development of a vibrant sustainable network of local ecological growers producing local food and local seeds that can be legally grown, saved and shared

The KASSI Living Seed Commons has Two Parts: Seeds for Sharing and the Living Seed Sanctuary

Open-pollinated seeds are offered to everyone who wishes to grow them out for food and for more open-pollinated seeds for sharing. These seeds are not sold, because KASSI respects that seeds are living beings, however, donations on a sliding scale are accepted in recognition of the work that goes into growing, harvesting, cleaning and packaging these seeds.

Seeds from the Living Seed Sanctuary are regularly grown out, in order to maintain their genetic integrity while they continue to adapt to local growing conditions. The seeds that are produced go back into the collection for future grow-outs and are made available for sharing with you, the gardener!

Meet the Seeds!

Yellow-100 Soya Beans from the KASSI Living Seed Sanctuary, grown out in 2020. Photo: Anna Sadura Healey

The varieties selected for sharing are nutritious and can be eaten all year. For example, there are many different kinds of beans in the KASSI Living Seed Commons because they can be eaten fresh during the growing season and then saved as dry beans to be eaten in the fall, winter and spring. Check out the seeds currently available for sharing here

You can order them, make a donation, and reserve a time to pick them up safely in March using the online order form

Get Involved

Why not consider becoming a KASSI Seed Guardian?  You can help by:

  • Distributing open-pollinated seeds to neighbours or members of your Community Garden
  • Sharing seed saving educational materials provided by KASSI and partners with neighbours and fellow gardeners
  • Growing plants from the open-pollinated seeds in the KASSI Living Seed Commons primarily for their seeds.  You need to have enough space to grow enough plants to preserve the genetic variation in the population with the appropriate isolation distances.  KASSI will provide seeds and coaching. 
  • Help clean and pack the open-pollinated Seeds For Sharing in the KASSI Living Seed Commons Seeds


In addition to the resources on the KASSI website, excellent information is available at:

Seed Savers Exchange

Seeds of Diversity Canada

Fruition Seeds

And of course from the Rideau 1000 Islands Master Gardeners! Please see our other blog posts for gardening information or ask us your questions.