Founded in 1986, Prairie Garden Seeds is a small, family-operated seed company based in Saskatchewan, Canada, operated by daughter-father team, Rachelle Ternier and Jim Ternier. Between the original family farm near Cochin, SK and St. Peter’s Abbey near Humboldt, SK, the Ternier family organically produce about 95% of the seeds offered in the seed catalogue on this site. Included in that production is many seeds grown by Rachelle's Aunt Judy and farm partners at Largo Farm. Thanks to them for all their help in previous years while Rachelle set up back here at the farm and for their seed growing work for us. Many of the seeds you will be purchasing have been grown by them. The remainder of the seeds come from either a commercial seed source (about 4%), indicated with a (C) after each variety, or from a certified organic source (like the team at Wild Garden Seed in Oregon).
Prairie Garden Seeds has always been and will continue to be committed to gardening/farming without agricultural chemicals or the use of synthetic fertilizers.
You are important to us and we work hard to serve our customers as best we can but please keep in mind we are a TWO PERSON operation, with the occasional friends or family lending a hand. We have no additional employees and so when things get busy it is sometimes hard to keep up in the way larger companies do.
Speaking of friends lending a hand, this brand new website would not have been possible without the amazing skill, expertise, support, and encouragement from my dear friend, Meghan Mickelson (our main volunteer photographer as well!), and from Rachelle's brother Dave Ternier. You two have been solid rocks in this whole process that we started together just over a month ago. We did it!
Every year people send us seed samples and used stamps (yes, Jim collects stamps as well as seeds!), and we try to thank everyone 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 Ternier and Jim Ternier
Jim Ternier has been gardening on the Canadian prairies for pretty well all his life, other than the years he spent traveling and gardening in Europe back in the 70s. Rachelle has been gardening ever since she was a kid, involved in seed saving from a young age and attending Seedy Saturdays with Prairie Garden Seeds since age 10 or so. Since 2010, Rachelle has been slowly taking over the business. In that time, she has been busy soaking up as much knowledge as she can from Jim and others about gardening and seed saving.
Read on to further explore who Jim Ternier and Rachelle Ternier are and what’s led them to Prairie Garden Seeds.
Rachelle has been around seeds and gardening ever since she can remember as her and Prairie Garden Seeds were born around the same time! After graduating from the University of Saskatchewan with a BA in Languages (Spanish and German) and Linguistics, she decided to move to the parents and work with her Dad. Her university education encouraged her to think critically about the broader context of the work Jim had dedicated his life to, and surprisingly, she found herself thinking about the importance of this seed saving work during her study of languages and linguistics. The most biodiverse places on the planet are often the most linguistically and culturally diverse as well, and the existence of the greatest possible diversity in all these areas, is critical to the resiliency and brilliance of humanity. This passion for diversity led her to return to her roots, the farm where Jim has been uniquely and somewhat accidentally encouraging biodiversity in gardening for many years. For the past 10 years, she has been very involved with the work of growing, saving, and distributing seeds through Prairie Garden Seeds.
Rachelle has an immense and indescribable love for people, land, plants, local food, seed saving, different cultures, as well as salsa (and other latin) music and dancing, and learning and speaking other languages (especially Spanish)! She is passionate about encouraging everyone to grow some food, relish in and develop a meaningful connection to land, save some seeds, and localize their diets as much as possible. She is also very active in and passionate about the National Farmers Union, a members based farmer organization in Canada that encourages critical thinking and discussion on all issues related to farming and life on this planet. This NFU "family" (as Rachelle refers to fellow NFU members) of farmers from across the country is instrumental in promoting thoughtful agricultural policy and connecting farmers in meaningful ways and has simply brought so much great energy to Rachelle's life! Join us and become a member today, either a farm member or an associate member. Check out the NFU YouTube channel with great videos from last years online national convention! Rachelle has been actively taking over the family seed collection and business since about 2015, while also moving back to the family farm near Cochin in an off grid living situation very connected to the land, accompanied by her trusty side kick, without whom this wouldn't be possible, her dog Coco!
He began as a market gardener selling food before transitioning to growing and selling seeds. 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 35th year in 2021. 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 is a past board member of Seeds of Diversity Canada (our national seed saving organization) where he served for about 10 years, including 2 years as chair.
Jim and his wife Marie-Louise (Rachelle’s mother) relocated to Humboldt in 2005 where Jim has been gardening/farming at St. Peter’s Abbey ever since. Having “recently” crossed the 75-year mark, he is eager to be retiring from the business side of things (Rachelle won't let him entirely just yet!) but still gardens, produces, and processes seeds very happily.