A couple of weeks ago I had the privilege of attending the Organic Seed Alliance's 7th Organic Seed Growers Conference in Corvallis, Oregon. 450 organic plant breeders, farmers, seed company professionals, researchers, seed librarians, government officials, and students came together for two days of workshops, discussions, networking, seed swapping, eating, dancing, and more!
As usual, the conference inspired me to think more about what I can do as an educator, seed grower, and activist to improve organic seed, and people's understanding of it. In several of the workshops I attended, people brought up concerns of connecting with the end consumer, and I walked away realizing the story of seed is one of the greatest tools we can use to encourage people to connect with this most important link in our food system.
I have been slowly working on writing a book about seed, but I think the story needs to be told every day, every time seed passes from one seed-saving gardener to another. What is the microclimate where the seed was produced? Is the crop resistant to aphids? Does it survive the heat of summer when other varieties don't? Where did the seed come from? Who passed it to you? In this day, there are so many apps, programs, websites, and other avenues to collect data like this, but for a lot of people (including me) it can feel impersonal. As such, I'm thinking of ways to bring the information and the story back to the personal level. After all, isn't that part of what we look for when we go to the farmers market instead of the grocery store? I promise dear reader, when I think of something good, I'll post it here...