Oregon plant breeder and author Carol Deppe will be the keynote speaker at the 36th annual Seed Savers Exchange Conference July 15 to 17. Deppe holds a PhD in genetics from Harvard University and specializes in developing open source crops for organic growing conditions, sustainable agriculture, and human survival for the next thousand years. Carol is owner of Fertile Valley Seeds, a member of the Open Source Seed Initiative Board of Directors, and author of Breed Your Own Vegetable Varieties, The Resilient Gardener, and The Tao of Vegetable Gardening.
Deppe will be joined by other speakers including Southern heirloom experts Dr. David Shields and Glenn Roberts; The French Laundry garden chef Aaron Keefer; and community seed activist Rowen White.
Dr. Shields, professor at the University of South Carolina, is chairman of the Carolina Gold Rice Foundation and a noted researcher of early American crops of the South. He has been called “the Indiana Jones of old foodways.” Shields will be joined onstage by Glenn Roberts, founder of Anson Mills, a South Carolina company that mills heirloom grains. Roberts was recently featured in an episode of Anthony Bourdain’s Parts Unknown television program.
Aaron Keefer is the head culinary gardener for Chef Thomas Keller’s threeacre garden at The French Laundry, a threestarred Michelin restaurant in Yountville, California. He will share details about the role seeds play in the creation of the restaurant’s ninecourse tasting menu.
Rowen White is director and founder of Sierra Seeds, an organic seed cooperative in Nevada City, California. A passionate activist for seed sovereignty, White will discuss the Mohawk Indigenous Seed Restoration project involving her tribal community in northeast United States.
The conference will focus on growing the seed saving movement with howto workshops on growing, collecting and processing heirloom seeds. Rebecca Newburn of the Richmond Grows Seed Library, botanical explorer Joseph Simcox, gardening guru Ros Creasy, and Bill McDorman of the Rocky Mountain Seed Alliance will be among the featured workshop leaders.
“The year’s conference features a who’s who of thought leaders in the gardening and heirloom seed movement,” said Diane Ott Whealy, cofounder of Seed Savers Exchange. “And, of course, there will be great food, music and a good old fashioned barn dance.”
Kids’ activities include the Dig & Discover program, an exploratory education experience for children ages 6 13 years.
To register for the conference, visit www.seedsavers.org/conference or call 563-3825990.
About Seed Savers Exchange: Seed Savers Exchange is a nonprofit membership organization whose mission is to collect and distribute heirloom seeds and plants, thus protecting our garden heritage for future generations. Located at 890-acre Heritage Farm near Decorah, Iowa, Seed Savers Exchange maintains one of the largest nongovernmental seed banks of its kind in the U.S.