Category Archives: Events

Learn About On Farm Seed Saving & Crop Diversity Trials

As the seed industry continues to become dominated by big companies it becomes ever more important to pass on seed saving skills and get more folks participating. Seed saving helps to preserve genetic diversity and can help adapt seeds to your local area. Like seed saving, crop trialing can also be a benefit to farmers, whether for their own research or profit.

This January, you can learn these valuable skills from Chris Smith of The Utopian Seed Project & Sow True Seed and SESE’s own Ira Wallace.

This event is a pre-conference workshop, part of an incredible event, the 21st Annual Biological Farming Conference.

The 21st annual Virginia Biological Farming Conference is Virginia’s premier organic and sustainable agricultural conference! The Conference brings together farmers, gardeners, eaters, educators and advocates of biological and organic agriculture.

On Farm Seed Saving

On farm seed saving is somewhat of a lost art, but has many benefits to the farmer (and some challenges). This workshop aims to give you the knowledge to start saving your own seeds as well as a realistic look at generating income through seed grow-outs for seed companies.

– Basic botany of seed production.
– Seed processing and special equipment.
– The business of seed growing (contract growing and dual cropping potential).

Crop Diversity Trials

Crop trialing is another on farm activity that can add a lot of value, either in collaboration with researchers (sometimes paid) or for your own research. Crop trialing can be effective for marketing and farm differentiation, while at the same time growing a marketable crop. This workshop will cover the nuts and bolts of setting up (or participating in) a successful crop trial.

– Setting up an effective trial.
– Marketing and publicity benefits of on farm trials.
– Getting involved with larger trialing efforts.

Mark Your Calendar

This workshop will be held January 11th from 1pm-5pm at:

The Hotel Roanoke
110 Shenandoah Ave NW
Roanoke VA 24016, US

On Farm Seed Saving and Crop Diversity Trials is from 1 to 5 pm on Saturday, January 11, 2020, and is $75 for both VABF members and non-members.

An optional Hotel Roanoke lunch buffet add-on ticket is available for $24 and lunch is available between 11:30 pm and 1 pm in the Regency Dining Room.

Scholarships

Need help with the workshop fee? We’re happy to say that thanks to a generous sponsorship from Southern SARE there are several scholarships available for limited resource black, Native American, women, and other underserved minorities. Click HERE to access the financial aid application.

We can’t wait to see you there!

Support Seed Diversity: 2019 Southeast Organic Seed Summit

At Southern Exposure Seed Exchange we strive to promote organic gardening, sustainable agriculture, and everyone’s right to save seed. That’s why we’re proud to be part of the 2019 Southeast Organic Seed Summit team. This event features workshops on seed production, plant breeding, variety trials, and seed enterprise development.

Why do Organic Seeds Matter?

Some research shows that seeds grown on organic farms are better adapted to dealing with pest and disease issues than their conventional counterparts. This could be because on organic farms plants aren’t given the benefit of synthetic protection from these problems. They cope with them or die. Preserving the diversity of organic seeds available to both farmers and home growers could be key to finding varieties that will cope with a changing climate.

Gather & Learn 

We encourage everyone to join SESE at this awesome event! Gather together with current and potential seed growers, organic seed companies, and allies with the goal of developing long-term strategies and collective actions to build seed systems in the Southeast. Take workshops on seed production, plant breeding, variety trials, and seed enterprise development and join in on farmer-to-farmer information sharing, networking, and listening sessions.

Mark your calendars, the summit is Friday morning, November 1st through Sunday morning, November 3rd. Check out the summit agenda for more workshop details. Tickets are on sale now so get yours soon. We can’t wait to see you there!

Come See Ira Wallace

SESE’s Ira Wallace will be at the Summit. Come see her as she co-hosts a couple workshops:

  • Regional pest, disease and climatic factors in seed development
  • Growing vegetable seed in the Southeast

Scholarships Available – Apply by September 7th

Limited scholarships are available to participate in the summit. Awards are prioritized for farmers and financially limited or socially disadvantaged attendees. The application period closes at midnight Pacific Time on September 7, 2019. Apply here.

 

Super Easy Fresh Tomato Salsa & Tomato Tastings!

When we have all the ingredients to make garden fresh salsa I know that summer is finally in full swing. The garden has started overflowing with squash, peppers, garlic, beans, and my absolute favorite tomatoes!

This quick fresh salsa is one of my favorite summer dishes. It looks fancy, tastes, great, and comes together in minutes. Making it perfect to throw together for lunch after working in the field or making to share at a family barbeque.

This recipe is also one of those that you can play with a lot.

Here’s what you’ll need:

2-3 good sized tomatoes (mine weighed about 1 1/2lbs)

2 sweet banana peppers (or 1/2 a sweet bell pepper)

1/2 small onion

1 jalapeño pepper

1 clove of garlic

1/2 TBS lemon/lime juice

Cilantro to taste (if dried I use about 3/4 tsp and a small handful if fresh)

Salt & pepper to taste

There’s a few points to note when selecting ingredients. The tomatoes, in my humble opinion, are absolutely what make this recipe. Use homegrown or from a local farmer, storebought tomatoes just aren’t worth it. Paste tomatoes will make for a less watery salsa but I just go with whatever I have on  hand. I adore the look of salsa made with different color heirlooms.

You can also vary the peppers. I like a mix of sweet and hot peppers. The sweet bananas are super easy to grow and I find that 1 jalapeño adds a lot of flavor with out being overwhelmingly spicy but if you like it hotter or grow other types of peppers, go for it! Just try adding a little at a time.

I’ve used both yellow and purple onions and am happy with both but many people find they prefer purple onions for salsa. The cilantro and garlic can also be varied to taste. Fresh is better but in a pinch you can use dried cilantro and garlic powder.

To prepare:

Begin by dicing the tomatoes, peppers, onion, and cilantro. I like mine chunky but you can dice your ingredients as small or large as desired. For a smoother salsa pulse all the ingredients in a food proccessor until the desired consistency is reached.

Mince and add the garlic clove and stir in the lemon juice and salt and pepper to taste. It’s so good you may eat it all with just a bag of tortilla chips but it’s also excellent with tacos.

Don’t stop reading tomato fans!

If you’re as fanatical about homegrown tomatoes as I am be sure to stop in and visit Southern Exposure at two upcoming tomato tasting events!

On July 29 SESE will be at the Home Grown Tomato Tasting,  in Charlotte, NC
Southern Exposure Seed Exchange will be hosting a “Seed Swap” at the Tomato Tasting.

The Homegrown Tomato Festival is an all-day tomato themed event where tomato lovers can try dozens of different backyard tomatoes, crown the region’s best tomato grower, drink tomato themed cocktails, enjoy live music and more! This event is a fundraiser for 100 Gardens, a Charlotte based 501c3 that teaches agriculture and aquaponics in local schools, correctional institutions and also in Haiti. For more information about 100 Gardens or this event visit www.homegrowntomato.org or www.100gardens.org.

Aug 5: Botanical Garden Summer Sampler Tomato Tasting in Norfolk,VA
Southern Exposure Seed Exchange will be offering samples of a variety of tomatoes and have seeds available for purchase. Be sure to stop in and find your favorite variety to grow for next year!