186: Robin Kelson on Seed Saving-Resiliency.

Keeping the strength of genetic traits through community sharing of seeds.

Robin KelsonRobin is the owner of the Good Seed Company – “heirloom seeds for common use,” a small heirloom vegetable, flower and herb seed company based in Whitefish, MT and dedicated to helping re-establish the community practice of selecting, saving and sharing seeds for common use.
The Good Seed Company envisions becoming a model for cultivating community-grown resilient seeds, seed savers and gardeners, and offers “workshops from soil to seed” under the trade name: “DIY:GROW”, including a one-year “seed steward” internship. DIY:GROW seeks to reduce the barrier to entry for anyone wanting to take control of their food.
A biochemist and attorney by training, Robin has spent over 30 years exploring human vitality, resiliency, and patterns in the natural world. In support of cultivating a sustainability perspective for our common future, she also offers “The Resiliency Dialogues”, presentations for all audiences that introduce simple tools from nature for practicing resiliency in any context and to invite dialogue on this subject.


In this podcast: Greg talks to a former lawyer Robin Kelson who now runs The Good Seed Company. She shares her story about the unexpected transition in her life leading her to her work around seeds. One of the big events in her new life is an epic community event focused on seed saving and sharing.  She also explains why the company is using seeds from backyard growers.

Listen in and learn about:

  • How she got started with her focus on soil and seeds
  • Her chance to take over a seed company
  • Going to Seed School with Bill McDorman and Belle Starr
  • Her goal to get backyard growers to be the source of all the seeds in her catalog
  • Her real goal to have her company become obsolete
  • The one year seed steward internship
  • Supporting and expanding a regional seed bank
  • Why she thinks resiliency is important and how it relates to sustainability
  • How many of the seeds in the world have disappeared and why
  • How seeds relate to the topic of resiliency
  • How the book Learning from the Octopus influenced her
  • Her work to educate others about resiliency
  • What an heirloom seed is and what true-to-type means
  • The characteristics that define heirloom seeds
  • How to keep genetic traits in seeds strong by sharing
  • Why she is using backyard growers to provide seeds
  • How to become an ecological farmer and become part of the DIY GROW group
  • Her suggestions to those who want to start seed saving
  • Intellectual property and seed saving
  • Why patents originally were created and how when they started being applied to living things that the opposite effect was happening
  • Why she sees seed saving as a small act of defiance
  • The Free the Seeds Festival and its purpose and the results of the first annual event
  • How the festival came together in ten weeks and had about 1600 participants
  • The two round-table discussions and what manifested in the community

As well as:

  • Her failure – when she was an attorney and had to give a presentation, her fear and inability to ask for help; how she has grown from that experience
  • Her success – learning to let go of her belief that she knows everything, that and Free The Seeds
  • Her drive – her fundamental curiosity in the vibrancy of the human species, and how her following her curiosity is making her world bigger and fuller
  • Her advice – follow your curiosity, listen to your intuition, trust your body’s knowledge, and do everything you can to get healthy food in your body

Robin’s Book recommendations:     

Learning From the Octopus: How Secrets from Nature Can Help Us Fight Terrorist Attacks, Natural Disasters, and Disease by Rafe Sagarin

Tao Te Ching: The Translation of the Tao by Steven Mitchell

Will Bonsall’s Essential Guide to Radical, Self-Reliant Gardening: Innovative Techniques for Growing Vegetables, Grains, and Perennial Food Crops with Minimal Fossil Fuel and Animal Inputs

How to reach Robin: 

Website: Goodseedco.net

Facebook: @GoodSeedCompany



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