Virtual Conference: July 15-16, 2022

Welcome to a weekend of virtual tours, workshops, panels, keynote presentations, and intimate virtual gatherings. We are excited this year to focus on the theme of community collaboration, and are especially excited to hear from long-time members and collaborative leaders about the work they are doing to create community around seed. Whether you are a first time gardener, first time seed saver, or someone who has been to every one of our 41 summer conferences so far, we look forward to gathering virtually with you on July 15 & 16 for this year's SSE conference.

Register

Please select your level of donation. All pre-recorded videos will be freely available on this webpage the week of the conference. Pre-registration is required to attend all live sessions.

To register, please select your donation amount and list the email address to which you would like registration links to be sent. Thank you so much for your generous donations. Registration deadline: July 13, 11:49 p.m. Central Time

Please note: many live sessions will be recorded and freely available on this page at a later date.

Schedule & Recorded Videos

Please note that some sessions are pre-recorded and can be viewed at any time. Pre-registration is required to participate in live sessions.

Welcome

Join SSE Education and Engagement Manager Jeanine Scheffert as she welcomes us to the 42nd annual Seed Savers Exchange conference.

Tour of Heritage Farm

Stories of Heritage Farm with Diane Ott Whealy

Join us on a tour of Heritage Farm and see the 890-acre farm through the eyes of co-founder Diane Ott Whealy as she tells of this land's journey from small homestead to 890-acre farm housing an internationally known nonprofit.

Tools to Start Your Own Seed Story

Why Save Seeds?

There may be as many reasons to save and keep seed as there are people who save and keep them. From saving money to reconnecting to your ancestral foodways, watch this video to explore some of the reasons we save seed, and leave a message on this board with your reasons. Why do you save seed?

Links

Click here to list your answer: Why do you save seed?

Start with Beans

Dry beans are an easy place to start for a beginning seed saver because the seed is both what you eat and what you plant. Watch this short video to learn more about the process of saving seeds from dry beans.

Know Your Crop - Know What to Know

Every crop has its own preferred growing conditions as well as guidelines for saving seed. Watch this video to understand what it is you’ll need to know before venturing forth on your own seed saving journey.

Links

Seed Saving Chart and Guide

Seed Access

Before you can plant seeds to start your own seed saving journey, you need seeds to plant. So where do you get them? Sometimes it can be as simple as knocking on your neighbor's door. Watch this video to learn about and explore a number of seed sources, including seed exchanges, donation programs, seed catalogs, and more.

Links

The ExchangeCommunity Seed NetworkSeed Savers Exchange

Soil Health

Plants want to grow. But like all of us, they do best with proper nutrition, and healthy soil is the humble and crucial foundation. Join SSE Field Operations Coordinator Brennan Allsworth and SSE Greenhouse Coordinator Kate Rowe as they teach us about the four basic principles that help us grow and maintain healthy soils.

Seed Germination

When planting seeds you saved, knowing your seed's germination rate can be key. Learn how to test your saved seeds for viability in long and short-term preservation. This video walks you through setting up and reading a seed germination test according to crop type, and will highlight the best conditions for preserving seeds.

Links

Home Germination Test Guide
Germination Test Conditions Reference Sheet
Germination Test Evaluation
Germination Test Recording Form
More Resources

Seed Storage

When planting seeds you saved, knowing your seed's germination rate can be key. Learn how to test your saved seeds for viability in long and short-term preservation. This video walks you through setting up and reading a seed germination test according to crop type, and will highlight the best conditions for preserving seeds.

After harvesting and before planting, seeds need to be stored somewhere cool, dark, and dry. Watch this short video to learn more about why proper moisture, temperature, and protection increase the likelihood that seeds will sprout when they are planted.

Featured Stories: Live Keynote Presentations

Chiseled in Seeds

LIVE SESSION - Friday, July 15 at 3:00pm CDT

Over the past 6 years of traveling and connecting with various individual horticulturalists and organizations, artist-miniaturist Sergey Jivetin has illustrated hundreds of stories of plants and their stewards. His canvas is the plants' seeds, onto which the microscopic portraits are hand-engraved under magnification. In this talk, Sergey will present some of the stand-out examples of this unique art format, including one specially commissioned for the SSE co-founder Diane Ott Whealey. In addition to highlighting the aesthetics, Sergey will also reveal some of the philosophical and psychological dimensions underwriting the connection between people and plants he encountered while working on the project.

Sergey Jivetin

Pre-registration required to participate in live session

In Search of the Greatest Heirloom Watermelon

LIVE SESSION - Saturday, July 16 at 5:00pm CDT

Featured in the pages of Garden & Gun Magazine, Southern Foodways Alliance's Gravy Magazine and The Virginian-Pilot for both growing rare heirloom watermelons and searching much of the East Coast for the South's greatest heirloom watermelons, food journalists Debra Freeman and Joshua Fitzwater will tell stories of their "Heirloom Hunters" adventures over the years, break down the history behind some of their favorite heirloom watermelons, and give tips for how to grow bigger and sweeter heirloom watermelons at home.

Deb FreemanJoshua Fitzwater

Pre-registration required to participate in live session

After Hours Community Building

Open Mic: Poetry, Music, Art and More

LIVE SESSION - Friday, July 15, at 7:15pm CDT

Bring your poem, story, art, song, recipe, dance - we want to see and hear it! Sign up ahead to be guaranteed a sharing spot, or show up to watch and decide to share in the moment. We look forward to seeing you there! Click here to reserve a sharing spot.

Pre-registration required to participate in live session

Click here before noon CT on Friday, July 15 to sign up for this session.

This session will not be recorded

Member Show & Tell

LIVE SESSION - Saturday, July 16 at 7:15pm CDT

Join in for this member-exclusive Virtual Garden Party event to connect with other Seed Savers Exchange members. We invite attendees to "show and tell" around the guiding question: "What is something new you tried this year and are having success with?" We encourage you to have photos ready to share, or zoom in straight from your garden. Bring your own beverages and snacks!

Please note: this is for members-only. If you’re not already a member, it’s one of many good reasons to join today!

Pre-registration required to participate in live session.

Click here before noon CT on Saturday, July 16 to sign up for this session.

This session will not be recorded.

Keynote Speakers

Deb Freeman

Deb Freeman hosts the critically acclaimed podcast, Setting the Table. She has written for The Local Palate, Plate, Food 52, Epicurious, Garden and Gun, Pit, Gravy, Southern Grit, and Gastro Obscura; has had her work featured in Huffington Post; and has done cultural commentary for BBC Radio and other international outlets. Freeman writes about the intersection of race, culture, and food.

Joshua Fitzwater

Virginian Joshua “Fitz” Fitzwater, founder of Southern Grit magazine, has been featured in Garden and Gun, Gravy, and the Virginian-Pilot newspaper for his work with heirloom watermelons. He has searched for the South’s rarest and greatest heirloom watermelons, led large-scale heirloom watermelon grows in Fredericksburg (Virginia), and gotten many heirloom watermelons into the hands of Virginia chefs and restaurateurs. This work led to a collaboration with Hampton Roads chefs to make watermelon hot sauce and barbecue sauce that garnered both national and regional press.

Sergey Jivetin

Artist-miniaturist Sergey Jivetin connects with growers, breeders, and seed savers and memorializes their contributions into actual seed pods through the art of hand engraving. He displays this work in the traveling Furrow project. Growing up in Uzbekistan, the site of one of the greatest ecological disasters of the 20th century, heightened Jivetin's sense of the preciousness of natural resources and their management. Since coming to the United States in 1994, he has expanded his practice from wearable jewelry to experimental flatware, scientific and medical apparatus, sculptural objects, and site-specific installations. He has received fellowships from the Louis Comfort Tiffany Foundation, Peter S. Reed Foundation, and New York Foundation for the Arts. Jivetin's work is in the permanent collections of many public and private entities, including the Smithsonian Institution, Metropolitan Museum of Art, and Dallas Museum of Art.

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