Seeds of Diversity is an organization dedicated to the saving and trading of heritage seeds among gardeners in Canada. Even though I live in Germany, I still enjoy their newsletter, and look forward to the day I can participate.
The latest newsletter contains some very interesting facts about the prevalence of heritage varieties in modern Canadian gardens.
During 2004 and early 2005, Seeds of Diversity indexed the contents of 41 Canadian mail-order garden seed catalogues. These included more than 75 species of fruits and vegetables, and over 3250 named cultivars. The complete list is available on our web site at http://www.seeds.ca/hpd/csci.php. Besides assisting gardeners to locate specific varieties ( our office receives hundreds of questions about this every year), this index has enormous importance in measuring the status of horticultural biodiversity in Canada…
Gardeners can get a lot of good vegetable varieties from Canadian seed companies. There are about five times more garden seed vendors in the U.S. than there are in Canada, but our domestic companies offer 55% of the varieties that are available in both countries combined. For instance, Canadian companies supply 626 varieties of tomatoes according to our current CSCI index. The Seed Savers Exchange in the U.S. lists 915 tomato varieties from all garden seed companies in Canada and the U.S. combined. More than two-thirds of all tomato varieties sold are available from Canadians!
The bad news is that most of the 3250+ varieties sold in Canada are extremely rare and in danger of dropping out of commerce completely. Only 5.3% of all varieties are available from more than five companies, out of the 41 that we have indexed.
Check out the results of their Canadian seed catalogue inventory here.