Dan Jason, Founder of Salt Spring Seeds – Biographies – MOTHER EARTH NEWS

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Dan Jason, Founder of Salt Spring Seeds

Name: Dan Jason

Occupation: Author and seedman

Background: Dan wanted to garden from about the time he was ten. His parents thought that was most silly, because no one grew food in the suburbs of Montreal in the 1950s and 60s. But Dan never convinced them to dig up their lawn.

When he graduated from McGill with a degree in anthropology in 1967 and came to British Columbia, he was captivated by the beauty and bounty of plants. Dan and some friends wrote a book on edible and medicinal wild plants of British Columbia that was a bestseller throughout most of the 1970s.

Dan’s serious gardening years were yet to come. He explored a lot of BC until he landed on Salt Spring Island in 1976. Then he started to grow large gardens. He kept planting more and different kinds of things, trying to find the best crops to grow for a rich and healthy diet. When he started Salt Spring Seeds in 1986, he sold seed packets for a dozen bean varieties, plus quinoa and amaranth.

Thirty years later, Dan is still selling those same crops, but now offers seeds for over 700 different herbs, vegetables, beans, grains and flowers.

The titles of gardening and recipe books he has written reflect his philosophy: Living Lightly on the Land, Your Own Food, Greening the Garden, The Really Whole Food Cookbook, Saving Seeds as if Our Lives Depended on It (available in the MOTHER EARTH NEWS Store).

The cultivation of beans has remained an important part of Salt Spring Seeds’ focus, because they enrich the soil admirably and they are so nutritious and easy to grow.

Dan’s biggest surprise as a seedsman was to learn, just a few years ago, that Canada has become the world’s largest exporter of dried peas and beans, chickpeas, favas and lentils. Other countries love Canada’s pulses, yet Canadians consume less than 10 percent of what they cultivate.

Dan has re-dedicated himself to popularizing beans as something North Americans should be growing and eating. In the context of climate change, beans have some very powerful things to say!

Where to find Dan on the Web:

Salt Springs Seeds

Photo by Derek Lundy