The Seed Ambassadors Project

Bringing Biodiversity Back

Tag: Seed Saving

Seed Swaps for Everyone – “How To”

The world could always use more seed swaps and here are a few tips for organizing your own Seed Swap. (Thanks to Kim in central Virginia for the e-mail prompting this blog post.)

The folks at Seedy Sunday Brighton have a whole page devoted to hosting a seed swap. Food not Lawns also has a bit about organizing one.

The first thing is to get some friends involved, because it can be a lot of work (organizing, set up, clean up, promotion, etc.). If you don’t know anyone that will help you, post some fliers at garden stores or your local natural foods store, or maybe even the community garden bulletin board if your community is lucky enough to have one.

We have seen a few ways seed swaps can be organized. You have to decide which is best for your group.

Seedy Sunday Brighton has a central table, and when people come in, they give their seeds to the table, then volunteers organize them for redistribution. This way seems overly centralized and impersonal to me, but it works for them, and it may be necessary to do it this way at an event that draws upwards of 1,000 people. They also charge a small entrance fee to cover their expenses and require either a straight across swap of seed for seed or 50 pence for a seed pack, partly because “people don’t value that which is free.” At every other seed swap I have been to, everything is free.

A second way is to set up tables and have people stand near their stuff, so they can explain it to others that might have questions. This is what we do at the smaller fall seed swap.

A third way, which is also good, is to set up tables and have designated areas for different types of plants: flowers, herbs, tomatoes, etc. this is what we do at our large spring seed swap.

Most seed swaps descend into a sort of chaos even with the rough framework, so you could just have some tables and have people toss their seeds wherever they land. Then it’s a real treasure hunt!

Some other tips:

* If the group is 30 people or less, it is nice to stand in a circle and have people introduce themselves and what they’ve brought. This gives the swap more of a community vibe.

* If you know any seed geeks or old gardener types, be sure and personally invite them to help ensure there are some good seeds there.

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Seed Ambassador demos now on YouTube!

Want to know more about how to save and process seeds from the plants on your farm or home garden? Check out our step-by-step instructional videos on our  YouTube channels:

https://www.youtube.com/user/SeedAmbassadors

https://www.youtube.com/user/adaptiveseeds

We have Sarah starring in a short video on how to save and process mustard seed, a strategy which can also be used on other Brassicas.

We also have a short of Andrew demonstrating tomatillo techniques for a captive audience during a live seed saving workshop at Skinner City Farm in Eugene. The demo shows how to save seed from tomatillos, a process which can also be use on eggplants.

Lastly we have a more recent video demonstrating catnip seed saving.

Subscribe to our seedy YouTube channels to be notified about all newly posted videos. Thanks for tuning in!

Vestjyllands Højskole = West Jutlands High School

Birtha Toft, garden manager extraordinaire and member of the Frösamlerne, invited us to stay and work for a few days at Vestjyllands Højskole, “folk high school” where she works. Young people attend these schools of alternative education for six months to a year, usually between what is in the US high school and college. There are “high schools´´ all over the country where people can study everything from theater and art, to fusion cooking, to politics and sustainable living. The “folk high school” offers courses in all of these and more.

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We exchanged work in the Biodynamic garden for room and board, and ate some of the best food any of us had ever had. We prepared some of the sandy, no-dig raised garden beds for the winter with manure and straw, mulched paths, built up fences, and broke ground to prep new beds for next season. We had a great time with all of this work, and traded some seeds with Birtha to boot!

We also gave a short presentation to the students and faculty of the school about the Seed Ambassadors project. We were able to hook up our computer to a projector so we could share some photos of Oregon, as well as some of the varieties that we brought seed for, including Painted Mountain Corn breeding projects and Kale. Our first formal presentation and it went really well, brought to life thanks to the photos.

During our stay there we also found the time to walk to nearby Rinköbing Fjord, and Birtha took us on an outing to see some amazing sand sculptures depicting viking myths AND the North Sea. A very great experience for all.

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