Do you love growing plants from seed? Maybe you should start a Seedy Saturday in your community. It’s a fair amount of work but definitely worth it. Most of the work in organizing a Seedy Saturday is done in advance. I usually start in October for an event scheduled for the spring. Seedy Saturdays are a mix of seed vendors, plant specialists, garden accessories and more. You choose who you want to attend your event.
Before you get started ,you may want to check out similar events in your area. Check out the Seeds of Diversity website for information on Seedy Saturdays. They don’t always occur on Saturdays, Sundays work too. The first things you want to think about organizing is a group of eager volunteers to help you. Go to garden clubs ,community gardens and city hall to seek help for your event. Once you have help, choose a date for your event, a venue and a list of who you would like to invite. You can check out lists of seed suppliers, garden centers, community partners, environmental groups and non-profit societies.
Once your venue is chosen, ask yourself how many vendors can you have? Measure out the venue and draw a map to scale of the area. Draw in your tables and space them properly as many will want a bit of extra space for plants, seed racks,etc. Make notes where doors are and where electrical outlets are. Some vendors may want lighting or computer hookup. Be sure to ask on your registration form, the space needed, number of tables and chairs and whether they need electricity. It doesn’t hurt to see if they will donate a door prize for the event.
Once you have a list of vendors to invite, make a vendor letter and registration form. Send it to your list of vendors and then the wait begins. You will have lots of questions about your event if it is the first time you have held it. Once the event gets rolling it gets easier each year. Word of mouth is your best way to get new vendors each year. If you are passionate about seeds, the vendors will come. I like to have a mix of vendors. That way there is something for everyone. Try and have a children’s corner so it can become a family event. You will most likely have to do some followup emails with your vendors over the months leading up to the event. Be sure to have a deadline for registration although there are always late registrations.
Then there is the task of getting the word out about your event. You want to get it on social media and in print media, garden clubs, garden magazines and family event websites. It’s amazing how many people check out events online. We have found that a story in a local newspaper is the way most people found out about our event. If you have a local tv station you may be able to set up an interview to talk about your event.
Seedy Saturdays are often used as a place to trade seeds. This is always fun as you will have many people bringing in all sorts of different seeds to trade. Have rules as most people should be encouraged to bring open pollinated seeds.
Being organized is crucial to a successful event. Delegate tasks. Have someone in charge of setting up tables and chairs, someone to coordinate the volunteers and have a schedule, have someone in charge of advertising and social media, someone else to organize speakers and the technical requirements they may need. You need signage, posters to hang, photocopying to do and programs to develop and print. By the time the day of the event arrives, it is smooth sailing so just enjoy the day and smile.
Decide if you are charging admission. It could be admission by donation or perhaps partner with a needy cause to raise money. Perhaps you would like to donate to your local food bank. Be sure to cover your expenses as you will have some but as the years go by they lessen.
It’s a fun event for your community and a great way to kick off the spring garden season.