West Bend


Growing and Saving Heirloom Seeds

Jere Gettle - Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds
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Workshop Level: Beginner
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Workshop Description

Discover how to grow heirloom varieties and save your own seed. Plus see how you can search for local heirlooms and preserve the history, as well. Learn about seed collecting trips with a slideshow and stories.

Speaker Bio

Jere Gettle always had a passion for growing things. With the help of his parents, he planted his first garden at age 3 and became enchanted by the possibilities of what could be created with seeds, sunshine and soil. As his love for gardening grew, one of his favorite activities was looking through the colorful seed catalogs and deciding what he would plant next. As time passed, though, he realized that some of his favorite vegetable varieties were disappearing from the beloved seed catalogs. That is when it became his mission to save the diversity of seeds. He began saving, collecting and trading seeds. By age 13, preserving historical varieties had become his mission in life.
At the age of 17, he printed the first small Baker Creek Heirloom Seed catalog in 1998. While that first catalog was little more than just a photocopied price list, it has evolved into a beautiful and colorful seed catalog that boasts a listing for more than 1,500 seed varieties and is distributed to 430,000 potential customers. Packing seeds as a teenager from his bedroom has grown into an international business for Gettle ... one that sells more than 2 million seed packets per year. The company has become a tool to promote and preserve our agricultural and culinary heritage ...

The Gettles work extensively to supply free seeds to many of the world's poorest countries, as well as here at home in school gardens and other educational projects. It is their goal to educate everyone about a better, safer food supply and fight gene-altered Frankenfood and the companies that support it.

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