Sea To Seed: Of The Water Of The Wind
2017 Sea To Seed Photo Essay Part 1

Boat song. Swollen wood and salty water. Ancient island lands resplendent in their offers. Hands on deck, hands on banjo, hands in the dirt and on the harvest. Gulf-throated lullabies and wee-hour sharp sailor eyes leading us through phosphorescent night waters and Salt Spring harbours.

On May 9th, 2017 a band of farmers, musicians, filmmakers and artists came together on a two week journey through British Columbia’s Salish Sea for the fifth annual Sea to Seed tour. It is a bold and complex idea, planning a music tour in the 21st century around one of humanity’s most ancient modes of transportation. Out in the oceans, the mercy of the winds determined whether we made each night’s show.  14-hour travel days ticked by in an almost timeless fashion. With no billboards, traffic lights or stop signs in sight, and nothing but sweeping horizons in front of us, we soaked in the power of our surroundings and felt our bodies relax back into the wilder ways of those who travelled before us.

There’s a serene, almost deceptive beauty to British Columbia’s south western coastal waters, home to a myriad of vibrant gulf islands and salty passages. The Salish Sea is one of the world’s richest marine habitats; extending from the northernmost tip of the Strait of Georgia right down to Puget Sound in the United States. To really know this place you’ve got to look under its surface; at the megalitres of saltwater that come rushing in from the Pacific Ocean, flowing deep along the ocean floor, to the fresh nutrient-rich runoff of surrounding mountains, and at the complex topography crafted by glaciations eons ago. Through all of this we sailed, our boats riding high in the various tides and currents that disguised the world below.

All this sailing was not without purpose. Fifty years ago Vancouver Island farmers produced 85 percent of all food consumed on the island. Today that number sits at ten percent. Not only is farmland difficult to access, small-scale farming practices are expensive to both establish and maintain. Yet supporting local farmers also means supporting local food security, a reduction in carbon footprints, and a connection to our food and community. Sea to Seed began in 2013 with the intention of creatively connecting small island communities and inspiring discussion around localizing food systems through the organization of local farm feasts, music performances, and action days. In the coming weeks we will continue to share stories that we collected from 2017’s Sea To Seed tour, including short films, music videos, music singles, articles, and more. Join us in re-living this journey by keeping your eyes on our website, social media pages and by signing up for our newsletter.

May the wind be always at your back and may it guide you safely home.