Care to camp out in a beautiful setting, meet a bunch of people who are passionate about seeds and gardening, and hear some excellent speakers? Then start making plans to attend the Seed Savers Exchange (SSE) Conference and Campout, taking place at Heritage Farm from July 17 through 19 in Decorah, Iowa.
This annual event brings together a range of seed enthusiasts, from beginning growers to some of the biggest names in the seed-stewardship movement — and you’re invited! Keynote speakers at this year’s conference will include chef and writer Deborah Madison, TV gardening guru, radio host and writer Joe Lamp’l, and tomato expert and author Craig LeHoullier. Enjoy swapping seeds and even a bit of barn dancing between presentations.
This year’s gathering will coincide with Seed Savers Exchange’s 40th anniversary, so it’s sure to be a big, memorable bash. In celebration of turning 40, SSE is making 2015 an exciting year in other ways, too.
This spring, the nonprofit organization that’s been dedicated to preserving and promoting seed diversity for four decades, is releasing its first comprehensive seed-saving book, The Seed Garden: The Art and Practice of Seed Saving, which was created in collaboration with the Organic Seed Alliance. The book has been in the works for four years, says SSE Executive Director John Torgrimson, and it brings together the expertise of many seed savers. The user-friendly guide features nearly 300 color photographs, along with crop profiles and charts of at-a-glance seed-saving essentials.
For the first time, SSE is also offering 40 different apple varieties in its catalog this year, and will cut the ribbon on its new orchard at the Conference and Campout. This additional orchard brings the number of apple varieties grown by SSE up to an impressive 11,000, Torgrimson says.
To learn more about the upcoming Conference and Campout, go to the Seed Savers Exchange blog. If you’re an experienced seed saver, you can even suggest a workshop topic of your own before April 30.
Shelley Stonebrook is MOTHER EARTH NEWS magazine’s main gardening editor. She’s passionate about growing healthy, sustainable food and also runs Stonegrass Farms Soap Co. in her spare time. Follow her on Twitter and Pinterest.