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Sarah Kleeger & Andrew Still
Andrew Still and Sarah Kleeger traveled through Northern and Eastern Europe in the winter of 2006- 2007, collecting and sharing seeds and stories through their work with e Seed Ambassadors Project. When they returned to their home in Oregon, they began to grow and evaluate some of the 800+ varieties they had collected on their travels. The resulting seed led them to establish their seed company, Adaptive Seeds, in 2009.
Keynote Address Regional Seed Stewardship
Andrew and Sarah will share some stories from their travels and explain what they mean when they say they are Bringing Biodiversity Back. They’ll also explain how SSE members can join in their efforts, by transforming their seed saving skills into Seed Stewardship. Although preservation of heirloom varieties is of critical importance, focusing solely on preservation will not necessarily prepare us for the future. When it comes to seeds, we need a more long term, participatory, and evolutionary vision. Heirloom is a great concept for connecting us to the food system of the past, and stewardship is a great concept for connecting us to the food system of the future. Seed Savers Exchange members are uniquely poised to help create new varieties: the heirlooms of tomorrow.
Susan McCouch is a Professor of Plant Breeding and Genetics at Cornell University. She spent 5 years with the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) in the Philippines before joining the Cornell faculty in 1995. She serves as a scienti¬ c advisor on the Global Rice Science Partnership (GRiSP), served as Chair of the AAAS Section on Agriculture and Natural Resources, and is an elected fellow of the AAAS.
Keynote Address Gene flow and genetic isolation: a case study in rice
A narrow genetic base in modern crop varieties makes them vulnerable to pest and disease epidemics and to environmental fluctuations. A low level of genetic variation also reduces the evolutionary potential of a population, and limits the opportunities for sustained genetic improvement by plant breeders. Abundant genetic variation can be found in global and local germplasm collections, but it remains largely underutilized in crop improvement. Knowledge about the extent and distribution of natural variation around the world, and the relationship between genetic variation and plant traits, or phenotypic performance, provides a valuable roadmap for enhancing crop productivity and sustainability, particularly in stress-prone environments.
Virginia Nazarea is a Professor of Anthropology and Director of the Ethnoecology and Biodiversity Lab at the University of Georgia. Among other publications, she is the author of Heirloom Seeds and their Keepers, and co-editor of Seeds of Resistance, Seeds of Hope.
Keynote Address A Moveable Feast: Why "There" Can Be "Here"
Globalization brings about movement of people and commodities, boundaries and notions – precipitating a fragility and tenuousness that many have not faced before. Whether from staying in place or from wandering out-of-place, the result is a palpable disquiet, a lingering unease. Yet, in their multicolored seeds, backyard gardens, home-cooked meals, and homespun stories, seedsavers and gardeners continue to dig into place and in so doing counter the alienation that can come with change. Their gardens tend to be storied, sensual, and ultimately, sovereign. What lessons can they teach us in creating or re-creating an out-of-place sense of place? How do we make it possible for more people to participate in this highly personal social movement?
Bryan Welch runs Ogden Publications, Inc., the owners of Mother Earth News, Mother Earth Living, Utne Reader, GRIT and several other media brands focused on sustainability, natural health and rural lifestyles.
For the past 10 years Mother Earth News has been the fastest-growing major magazine in North America. It was instrumental in promoting and organzing the Seed Savers Exchange in its early years, and continues to support the seed saving community as it has grown since. Bryan’s award-winning book, Beautiful & Abundant: Building the World We Want, appeared in 2011. He and his wife, Carolyn, raise organic, grass-fed cattle, sheep and goats on a 50-acre farm near Lawrence, Kansas.