Two-Day Event Aims to Educate and Inspire Home Gardeners
The demand for seeds has skyrocketed due to recent events. The increased awareness of the importance of seeds and the need for regional seed saving has never been greater. The Great American Seed Up, now in its sixth year, returns on September 25 and 26 to support and guide home gardeners looking to expand their planting repertoire and knowledge.
The Great American Seed Up will take place at the North Phoenix Baptist Church, located at 5757 N. Central Ave., Phoenix. To adhere to acceptable social distancing guidelines, the annual two-day event, which attracts more than 800 participants, has changed its process to online education and staged entry for shopping bulk seed sales and gardening items.
The foundation of the Great American Seed Up is educating the community about home gardening and the importance of seed saving. Instead of in-person lectures and classes, educational webinars and podcasts will be provided, assuring participants learn the basic skills needed to save seeds and produce healthy soil and plants. Topics will include seed patent laws, seed terms, tomato seed saving, container gardening, healthy soils, drip irrigation and more.
Seed saving is critical if we are to assure a secure and regenerative agriculture. The organizers believe that we can no longer rely on seeds that come from thousands of miles away and are one-size-fits-all. The Great American Seed Up is a great place to jump start the process of reclaiming this ancient tradition by purchasing seeds that work in the greater southwest and whose plants produce seeds that can be easily saved. When seeds are grown, saved, and replanted locally, they accrue benefits from climactic adaptation that allows us to select for hardier crops, are more pest-resistant and produce tastier food.
Featured guest speaker, Darren Chapman, founder and director of Tiger Mountain Foundation will give a virtual tour of the gardens and projects at the Foundation and present on community food system resilience. Additionally, pre-registration for either day will include online recorded versions of webinars taught by Bill McDorman, Kari Spencer, and Greg Peterson.
“Having experienced the recent pandemic and seeing how fragile our food supply chains are, learning about seeds and gardening is more important than ever,” said Greg Peterson owner of the Urban Farm and co-founder of the Great American Seed Up. “We are looking forward to welcoming the community back this year, even if it is a bit different set up.”
More than 100 varieties of seeds will be on sale at the seed bazaar, hand-selected for these plants’ ability to thrive in our harsh desert climate. Bulk quantities of popular, open-pollinated, non-GMO vegetables, herbs, grains, wildflowers, flowers, and cover crops seed varieties will be available at deep discounts. By eliminating the expense of packets, printing and packaging seeds, the savings are passed on to the attendees. There are new varieties added each year, so return guests will have new treasures to enjoy. This year’s added selections include more southwest adapted beans, cantaloupe, tomatoes, flowers, veggies, and an expanded array of ancient grains.
On Friday, doors will open for seed buying at 5 p.m. and close at 9 p.m. Saturday morning registration begins at 10 a.m. and doors close at 1:30 p.m. Registration is available for each hour of the event with check in at the door and includes access to all of this year’s education and presentations. Walk-in registration will be accepted during the last hour of each day. Personal protective equipment requirements will be reviewed and posted the week before the event.
Registration is $7.50 per day and covers access to the Seed Room for purchasing seeds, and online access to seed education. Advance registration is now open online at GreatAmericanSeedUp.org. The Great American Seed Up is presented by Seedsave.org, Rocky Mountain Seed Alliance, The Urban Farm, and The Micro Farm Project.