Internationally celebrated ethnobotanist, author, and activist Gary Paul Nabhan will keynote the 33rd annual Seed Savers Exchange Conference and Campout Friday through Sunday, July 19 - 21, at Heritage Farm near Decorah.
Nabhan will speak about the threat climate change poses to food production. As an avid gardener, researcher and pioneer in the local food and seed saving communities, Nabhan is uniquely positioned to discuss the importance of diverse food systems for agricultural sustainability.
This year's conference also includes four additional leaders in the seed saving and heirloom gardening world. Dr. Jeremy Cherfas-co-founder of the internationally recognized Agricultural Biodiversity Weblog based out of Italy-will speak on the changing regulations governing seed production in the European Union; Dr. Jack Kloppenburg of the University of Wisconsin will introduce the Open Source Seed Initiative, an alternative patent protection system for breeders; Sara McCamant will share the benefits and how-to's of building a community seed movement; and Rosalind Creasy will share her knowledge on growing a successful edible garden.
In addition to this star-studded speaker schedule, attendees can choose from over a dozen workshops that are beneficial for both the beginning and experienced gardener. Workshop topics include: community seed projects, general gardening, Seed Savers Exchange and Heritage Farm and a full spectrum of seed-saving theory and practice.
Also planned for the weekend are numerous fun-filled activities, including: a seed swap, nature walks, garden, facilities and orchard tours, a barn dance, cooking beans in a traditional New England bean hole, trout fishing, camping, delicious local food, an outdoor movie and "Dig and Discover" youth activities.
For the first time at the annual conference, Seed Savers Exchange invites SSE members to arrive early Friday, July 19 for a members-only field day. The day will include behind-the-scenes tours of Heritage Farm as well as membership discussions with SSE staff and board members.
The conference is open to the general public, with registration fees starting at $75 for Seed Savers Exchange members and $100 for non-members. Single-day registration is also available. Early registration is suggested, as space is limited and fees increase July 1.
For more information, including a schedule and registration instructions, visit seedsavers.org/Education/2013-Conference/.