Who are we
Proud to be a local seed producer
At Terre Promise, Quebec and Canadian ancestral varieties rub shoulders with finds from all over the world.
Each variety has its own characteristics, which makes it unique. From one generation to the next, the varieties are selected for their flavor, their color, their shape or for their resistance to diseases, pests or climatic hazards. Some have fallen into oblivion throughout history, due to their inability to withstand transport over long distances, or their fragility to handling as practiced in today's mass food system. We rehabilitate them and share them with you to ensure better nutritional diversity.
Terre Promise is proud to count on a committed, professional and dynamic team both in the fields at the production level and in the workshop, the place dedicated to seed conservation. We welcome several volunteers and trainees wishing to perfect their knowledge in the field of seed cultivation.
Lyne Bellemare was for 10 years the coordinator of the French component of Seeds of Diversity Canada. Founder of the company Terre Promise., she is the author of the book Terre Promise, the art of growing your own seeds (Edition QC Americas) In addition to being a permaculture enthusiast, she is especially interested in conservation. seeds of old, heritage and rare varieties.
Damien Breton, agricultural technician. Architect of change, Damien has had several experiences in sustainable farming. He completed multiple trainings and internships, notably at Cité Écologique.
Véronique Dubé, agricultural technician. After completing her degree in Urban systems, she made a complete U-turn to focus on agriculture. She is also passionate about biodiversity and sheep shearing.
Sandrine LeTacon, agricultural technician. She holds a diploma in Permaculture design and is currently following an herbalism course. She is also self-taught on several topics. She is the witch of the team!
Harold is a production technician. He is studying for a doctorate in human geography. He helps us with seed preparation, packaging and sending orders.
Laurie Archambault, agricultural technician. Holder of a DEP in horticulture et gardening, she joined us during the cold months to warm up her heart. She is insatiably curious and likes collecting seeds, friendships, musical playlists, and broken ceramics to create mosaics.
Emma-jeanne & Adèle
Emma-Jeanne and Adèle are the farm’s future. In charge of wetting the envelopes, they also developed special skills to count beans with their toes.
The primary mission of Terre Promise is to produce ecological seeds of vegetable varieties that are rare or difficult to access, ancient or of great cultural value so that the public can have access to them. We also have the mission of recording the history that accompanies ancestral varieties. to safeguard our cultural heritage. And finally to teach seed cultivation and conservation techniques through training and practical workshops for gardeners, farmers, horticulturists and other artisanal seed producers so that they can reproduce their varieties, select them appropriately and share them in turn.
Create together: often, great achievements are not the work of one person, but of many people. At Terre Promise, teamwork and the exchange of knowledge is the basis of our achievements.
- Recognition of the work of others: The varieties that we cultivate have been bequeathed to us by people who have safeguarded them from year to year. Sometimes First Nations peoples or elders who have the memory of our cultural heritage at heart. We owe them respect.
- Humor and happiness: We are a team of madmen and one joke does not wait for another in our team. We are passionate about our work and despite the pitfalls, we work to make the world a little better...
The Terre Promise project germinated more than ten years ago in a Montreal community garden. At that time, I was interested in permaculture and self-sufficiency, which led me to want to produce the seeds* of my favorite vegetables myself. By asking around for advice, I realized that even the older gardeners, normally knowledgeable, bought their seeds* without asking themselves any more questions, and did not keep them from year to year. So I started looking for ancestral techniques for saving seeds*.
For more than ten years, I have been interested in endangered issues, techniques and seeds*. As most of our ancestral varieties* have disappeared over time, I understood that it was important to share them in order to prevent them from sinking into oblivion. I also realized that cultivating ancestral varieties* made it possible to develop varieties* that were more resistant to climatic hazards and diseases. In addition, more suitable varieties* require less watering and fewer chemical inputs such as synthetic fertilizers or pesticides!
In 2014, the seed company Terre Promise was born. Today, more than 300 varieties* of vegetables, herbs and flowers are grown on site. We harvest and save our seeds year after year. These are open-pollinated*, patent-free, often rare, royalty-free and non-genetically modified varieties*. Since then, we have worked tirelessly to safeguard our cultural and common heritage.
Terre Promise is located on Ile-Bizard in Montréal. The one hectare plot is cultivated following permaculture and agroecology principles.
More than 250 varieties of vegetables, fruits and herbs are grown on permanent beds.
Once the season is over, we move over to our workshop located in Ahuntsic, at Centrale Agricole, where we clean our seeds, test our germination rates, and do the packaging.
At the farm, we grow 95% of the varieties we sell. The remaining 5% comes from other Quebec seed farmers or, when a certain crop fails, from a Canadian organic seed farm. We base our work on permaculture principles in order to produce seeds harmoniously with the environment. We use wood chips and dead leaves as mulch. We do not plow nor till the beds, which are permanent. The soil is only worked by hand with traditional tools such as pitchforks and shovels, and the grass is cut with a scythe. No machines are used on the plot to avoid soil compaction.
Moreover, we have a wide diversity of flowers to attract pollinators. We have also created several habitats for natives insects, reptiles and amphibians.
Lastly, we have dug up two ponds to welcome frogs and passing ducks. Since we do not irrigate our fields (aside from planting time), we use the rainwater that accumulates in these ponds when we do need to water some crops. Mulch and a careful garden design help retain enough moisture so that the plants are self-sufficient for most of the season.
A huge thank you to all the volunteers that allow Terre Promise to exist, thrive and move forward. Thank you for the advice, the tips, the hours spent at the farm or the workshop, and the days spent at markets or packaging seeds.
Josée Bellemare, project manager, has shared with us her expertise in order to optimise each production step. Thanks to her, we can make sure the seeds head exactly where they are meant to go, to your garden.
Stéphanie Savard, a horticulture enthusiast, is currently completing her training at the Laval Horticulture Center. She is generous enough to start several of our seedlings in her set-up worthy of the greatest professionals.
LATE Jean Collard (-2021), a friend and a passionate gardener. He believed in the potential of Terre Promise since the very start of the project. He helped us improve the different production steps. With is innovative ideas, he is the creator of the Collard Machine, a useful seed blower. He also built many drying racks and other tools. Thank you Jean.
René Paquet, retired from the Agriculture Ministry, has worked for a long time in variety breeding. Highly involved in the Seeds of Diversity organisation, he generously shared his knowledge and many of his ancestral varieties with us.
People talk about us everywhere
It's always a pleasure to share our knowledge about seeds!