Seeds and Soak in Idaho
By Belle Starr
It is astounding to think that at the turn of the last century everyone saved their own seeds. Seed saving was part of the fabric of our country. In fact, it was the Patent and Trade Office (ironically) that gave away over 1.2 billion packets of seeds to gardeners and farmers throughout the country. Our founding fathers knew the value of strengthening regions with the seeds to sustain them. These seeds had their own unique diversity, were adapted to niche climates, and displayed characteristics needed for each specific area. Not surprisingly, the Patent and Trade Office was the department that helped gut the free seed program and now allows for patenting of this precious resource. So how did we get from there to here? The path has been littered with all kinds of controversial backroom deals and questionable politics. We have been convinced that we can’t possibly save our own seeds and instead have to buy them every year. Nothing could be further from the truth.
Seed saving is nothing less than miraculous. Take one tiny seed, plant it, watch it grow, produce fruit and burst forth with enough seed to provide your needs for years, maybe decades. “Saving seed is not hard to do. In fact, it is not even hard to do well,” states Jeremy Cherfas, formerly with Biodiversity International in the new movie Open Sesame.
It was this realization that compelled Bill McDorman to start Seed School. Bill McDorman is the former director of the seminal seed conservation organization, Native Seeds/SEARCH. He founded Seeds Trust, High Altitude Gardens. Today, he is one of the principals of the new nonprofit, the Rocky Mountain Seed Alliance. In 2010, he became convinced that we needed thousands of seed savers to step up and start saving seeds, so he and I launched Seed School. Since its inception in September of 2010, Seed School has graduated over 550 students from all over the world. It is a six-day immersion that packs more power into learning this ancient tradition than almost anything available anywhere else.
The next Seed School is slated for November 2nd through the 7th at Onsen Farm, in Buhl, Idaho featuring geothermal greenhouses and hot springs! A special tuition rate of $400 (instead of $700) is available to three Urban Farm subscribers for this life changing experience.
You should expect to be inspired, empowered and greatly informed by Seed School. There is an ongoing mix of hands-on, experiential, and integrative activities. Students have access to all teaching materials to help them take next steps after they leave the course. Another important aspect of the week-long program is the camaraderie and deep connections made with other seed lovers. Often students describe feeling a sense of “coming home” at Seed School or feeling relieved to find others as concerned and moved by the magic of seeds as they are.
Contact Belle Starr to take advantage of this special offer: firstname.lastname@example.org
For more information, go to: RockyMountainSeeds.org
Belle Starr is former Deputy Director of Native Seeds/SEARCH, co-director of the Rocky Mountain Seed Alliance and cofounder of Seed School. She is married to Bill McDorman.