West Coast Seeds has a hit on its hands. The seed and gardening store curated the Dr. Bonnie Henry’s Pollinator special seed blend. Now, the specialty product is flying off the shelves at stores across Canada
The blend was produced as a tribute to the popular provincial medical health officer and a fundraiser for Food Banks Canada.
The Vancouver-based company started with a goal of selling 10,000 seed packets but so far it has quadrupled its target.
All the money raised will go to Food Banks Canada. So far, the revenues have reached $150,000, a number that is expected to grow as gardening sales ramp up during the fast-approaching spring gardening season.
“We’re hoping to double what we’ve done. We are hoping to get to $300,000. So that’s our push this year,” said Mark Macdonald, communications manager at West Coast Seeds.
The initiative was driven by the company’s owner, Craig Diamond.
“The owner of our company shared, with our staff, the desire to reach out and do something in tribute to Dr. Bonnie Henry because we have all been watching her almost daily and comparing the control of COVID in British Columbia to other provinces,” said Macdonald, who lauded Dr Henry’s “calm, reasoned and scientific style”.
According to Macdonald, one of the reasons for the campaign’s success is the unusually high demand for seeds, months before the typical growing season.
“This year, the sales that we would see normally in March and April, we saw in January. We have seen seven times what we would see in the normal January. There have been days where we have like 700 new orders,” he said.
He says this rise in demand could be due to people staying close to their homes and gardens during the pandemic.
Many nurseries and seed distributors are noticing higher sales.
“As I am in Chilliwack, I was shocked at interest from retail customers, willing to drive here from Sechelt, Vancouver and 100 Mile House to buy native plants,” said Lee Larkin, the owner of B.C.’s Wild Heritage Plants. She says pollinators, or flowering plants that attract pollinating insects like bees, have been particularly popular lately.
The West Coast Seeds campaign also supports the company’s ongoing attempt to promote the importance of pollination to gardening and the environment.
“Science is showing that the pollinators are in deep decline and so are insects as a result of climate change. Every home gardener that is planting some flowers in their backyard is helping against that,” Macdonald said.
Home gardeners and garden centres will have to wait a while yet before they start digging, but these packets are a reminder of the promise of spring.
Chelsea Lesley is one of them.
“We are in the north so won’t be planting out this year’s seeds for a little while yet,” said Chelsea Lesley, a Vancouver-based YouTube content creator. “I’m looking forward to adding the Dr. Henry Cosmos blend to my garden, though.”