Seedy Saturdays highlight critical seed biodiversity and sustainable gardening techniques for interior Alaska

The public is invited to join the John Trigg Ester Library for Seedy Saturdays – public seed exchanges and garden lectures – on February 25 and March 4, from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. at Hartung Hall in Ester. Lectures will begin at 3 p.m. each Saturday.

Now in its fifth year, the Seedy Saturday programs have been expanded to include guest speakers and an added artistic touch. On Feb. 24, family farm operators Brad and Christine St. Pierre will discuss Goosefoot Farm, a local vegetable farm that uses ecologically sustainable methods of soil cultivation and organic farming. On March 4, Dr. Carol E. Lewis, Dean & Director Emerita of the UAF School of Natural Resources and Extension and the Alaska Agricultural & Forestry Experiment Station will be giving a presentation on the history of the Experiment Station in Alaska. In addition, photographer Monique Musick is hanging a show representing the plant families that comprise the seed collection of the John Trigg Ester Library.

“We wanted to grow from the success of past seed exchanges and incorporate more educational opportunities through guest speakers and additional teaching materials,” said Musick. “We recently received a Community Seed Resource Program packet from the Seed Savers Exchange and are excited to share these new resources with other interested members of the public.”

The Seed Savers Exchange is a non-profit organization dedicated to the preservation of heirloom seeds. In 2015, the exchange featured over 23,000 heirloom seed listings. The mission is critical. In the last century or so, the world has lost 75 percent of its edible plant varieties. Since a network of growers is so important to conservation, they work to get seeds into the hands of as many gardeners as possible. The Ester Library’s Growing Ester’s Biodiversity program has recently begun a collaboration with the network – including a gift of seeds and seed saving supplies.

A seed library, or community seed bank, is a way that the public can promote agricultural biodiversity specific to their local region, preserving heirloom garden varieties and learning about seed saving and starting. Members “check out” seeds from the library to grow in their gardens, and at the end of the growing season, or at seed exchanges the following spring, seed suppliers “return” seeds to the library for use the next year. For this public event, all seed savers are welcome to bring varieties to trade and interested gardeners can “check out” seeds to try. We encourage heirloom varieties and any seeds that have been saved locally and are known to grow well in the area.

No seeds – no problem, everyone is welcome to come learn about seed saving and enjoy the free public lectures and photo show. The idea is to grow more seed savers in the area. In addition to the seeds there will be a variety of publications on gardening, seed saving, the Growing Ester’s Biodiversity program and the community gardens and grounds that are part of the John Trigg Ester Library campus.

Growing Ester’s Biodiversity is a community seed-sharing and educational program dedicated to improving the agricultural self-reliance of the Ester area through seeds and educational materials and events on food security and sustainability issues.

More information on seed swaps HERE.

About mmusick

former board member and president of the board; current member of the Friends of the Ester Library
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