A Seedy Adventure!

{Picture above: A seed swap at the conference. Photo credit: Broken Banjo Photography}


Part  1

Welcome to Spring!  Everyone here is feeling the coming warmth outside, releasing the clench of cold weather and loosening for our farm activities.  The house buzzes with new farm plan discussions, the greenhouse is warming little onions and chickens are scratchin all OVER the farm now.  Hard to believe the cool weather is about to close(well, really 40 is pretty dang warm to me! wink* )   Warming weather means the start of our growing season and a close to the beloved off-season.   A time usually filled with relaxing & recreating, book reading by the fire and visits to places that require more days than we can spare during summer.

   This Spring I was graciously given over a week to visit the Organic Seed Alliance Organic Seed Conference in Oregon.  I was harangued by friends in the Experimental Farm Network to carpool out with them and join their adventure and Ooooooh boy was it an adventure!  Our travel coach was a modest and gas thrifty Chevy Volt but lacking that certain vigor I worried about needing for passing the Rocky and Cascade Mountains.  My two cohorts were younger like me, idealistic dreamers with their hands in many projects and vast energy for finding not so well known seed and their stories.  I knew I was in for an adventure!
{Above:  A picture of travel partners, Dusty and Nathaniel, with Don Huber, retired expert scientist, veteran and activist in the fight to end Glyphosate!  Shared a burrito and his stories of his childhood, current lawsuits(!) and countries resisting Round-Up seeds!  What a mover, does this man sleep?!}


   We crossed the the Great Plains visiting my seed growing mentors in Nebraska at Meadowlark Hearth.  A wonderful time catching up on things.  Too bad Jasper and Kass couldn’t make it to visit with them.  Jasper spent his first 7 months invitro there surround by open skies and Organic food!  The next stop was a surprise visit to Laramie,WY to visit  seed elder and gay rights activist Jonas Slonaker.  He is noted on our seed journey for donating the “New Hanover” ground cherry to the William Woys Weaver collection when he was a young man in the 70s, after escaping his conservative community’s stance on homosexuality.  He’s also known for his role in the Laramie Project about Matthew Shepard, a brutal murder of gay man.  We found him excited to meet us, creating beautiful paintings in his older age and still saving seeds amongst other rabblerousing!
{An image of a fun purple carrot from Jonas’ garden, while Clint listens closely about how he saves his carrot seed.}


It didn’t take muuuch longer to make it to Oregon.  We crossed many beautiful mountain forests and those vast intermountain scrublands.  Soon enough we were to the Willamette Valley.  Signs like, “The Grass Seed Capitol of the World,” greet you as well as fields of sheep and hazelnuts.  This valley is special among valleys of world for its unique climate.  They receive nearly the same amount of water as we do, temps rarely dip below 15F and for several months of the year, farmers there expect nearly NO rain from late June to September, perfect for dry seed harvests.  It is an extremely unique climate that’s perfect for high quality seed growing of many of the world’s staple food crops, like: beets, all kale/cabbage crops, radish, lettuce etc.  What an ideal place to host a seed conference indeed!

{Above:  An amazing old growth Pine near the Bend,OR.  And proud ewe and her lambs basking in the warm sun and lush grass of the Willamette Valley.}

Read Part 2 later this month about what the seed conference foretells!