Prairie Garden Seeds has been Jim Ternier’s baby for many years, but it has evolved over the years to involve, mostly, various family members. Marie-Louise (mom and wife) has been involved working on the layout of the paper catalogue every year (which Rachelle has now taken over) as Jim’s computer skills aren’t great. David, Daniel and Rachelle as kids all grew seeds at one point or another, and now Rachelle is currently partnering with Jim (daughter and father) to take over the family business. The other main partners involved in Prairie Garden Seeds are Jim’s sister Judy, who lives, with her family, at the family farm by Murray lake, where a lot of the seeds are grown, and recently, Janice Sanford-Beck, also living at the family farm with her family. They grow a lot of food at the farm and distribute the wonderful produce through a CSA, check out Largo Farm for more information!
Jim has been gardening on the prairies for years, pretty well all his life, other than the years spent traveling and gardening in Europe back in the 70s. Rachelle has been gardening ever since she was a kid, involved in some seed saving from a young age, attending Seedy Saturdays with Prairie Garden Seeds since age 10 or so. She is now becoming more involved with the work of growing and saving seed with Prairie Garden Seeds since 2010 and is busy soaking up as much knowledge as she can about gardening, seed saving, food and cooking, as well as many other things.
Between ourselves and Jim’s sister Judy, we grow about 80% of the seeds offered in the seed catalogue. The remainder of the seeds come from either a commercial seed source (about 10%), indicated with a (C) after each variety, or from a certified organic source (like Frank Morton of Wild Garden Seed in Oregon). Judy continues to work on the family farm growing the bulk of the seed, with the help of the rest of her family as well as Janice.
Jim and Marie-Louise relocated to Humboldt as of 2005 where Jim has been gardening/farming at St. Peter’s Abbey ever since. Their daughter Rachelle has now been working with Jim for the past couple of years gardening at the Abbey, traveling to all the seed events across the prairies that Prairie Garden Seeds attends between February and April, packaging seeds, filling orders, and in general trying to figure out all kinds of logistics to do with the seed business.
We have always been committed to gardening/farming without agricultural chemicals or the use of synthetic fertilizers.
Rachelle has been around seeds and gardening ever since she can remember and has been gardening ever since she was a kid, involved in some seed saving from a young age and attending Seedy Saturdays with Prairie Garden Seeds since about age 10. For the past 5 years she has been more involved with the work of growing, saving, and distributing seeds and is busy engaging as much as possible with gardening, seed saving, food and cooking, and reading about and discussing the politics of food and the difficulties of our highly centralized and unstable global food system. Rachelle has an indescribable love for growing food, saving seeds, exploring nonconventional plant foods, as well as for Latin American music and dance, and learning and speaking other languages (especially Spanish)! She is passionate about encouraging everyone to grow some food, save some seeds, and localize their diets as much as possible. Over the next few years, Rachelle plans to focus on taking over the family seed collection and business, while also figuring out the details of moving back to the family farm near Cochin.
Jim has been gardening pretty well all his life. After graduating from university with a BA in Mathematics and living in Europe for six and a half years working as a gardener at a Jean Vanier L’Arche community, picking grapes in France and traveling around, he returned to the farm in 1977 to do what he knew best, garden and grow food. He began as a market gardener selling food before transitioning to growing and selling seeds instead. He sees himself as a regional seeds person encouraging people towards more self-sufficiency in terms of food. Prairie Garden Seeds issued its first seed catalogue in 1986 and is now into its 29th year in 2015. Jim believes in growing seeds not only for their utilitarian value but also for their relevance to our larger cultural values, in the stories of the people who introduced and grew them. He has been a board member of Seeds of Diversity Canada (our national seed saving organization) for about 10 years, including 2 years as chair.
Every year people send us seed samples and used stamps (yes, Jim collects stamps as well as seeds!), and we try to thank you all personally, but in case we forgot: THANK YOU. Every year a few new seeds find their way into our seed catalogue, many of which have been gifts from you who are reading this.
Rachelle and Jim