Virtual Seed School
Registration for Seed School is now closed.
- Mondays, September 13-October 25, 2021, from 6:00-7:30 pm CDT
- 7 live webinars led by SSE staff and friends
All price levels receive full access to live and recorded content.
All scholarships have been claimed.
Now’s the time to take a deep dive into seed-saving practices!
This course will take place over seven weeks, each featuring a new topic and speaker. Zoom webinars will be presented live each Monday at 6:00 pm Central Time from September 13 until October 25. Students will also have access to a shared Dropbox with webinar recordings and additional educational content.
Additionally, the sessions on September 20, October 4, October 18, and October 25 will be preceded by a social hour from 5:30-6:00 pm CDT to connect with other students.
Content is intended for beginning seed savers and those looking to expand their seed-saving knowledge to new crops and techniques.
(Subject to change)
All webinars will take place from 6:00-7:30 pm, Central Time. Recordings will be posted within the week.
Digging Deeper: Why We Save Seeds
Susana Cabrera-Mariz, Assistant Seed Historian, Seed Savers Exchange
The Wonder of Plants! Botany for Saving Seeds
Philip Kauth, Director of Preservation, Seed Savers Exchange
Seed Saving for Variety Preservation
Jessika Greendeer, Dream of Wild Health
Seed Processing with Breakout Sessions
Regional Challenges and Opportunities with Breakout Sessions
Seed Saving for Regional Adaptations
Julie Sheen, Co-owner of Giving Ground Seeds
Opportunities in Seed Saving & Sharing Panel Discussion
Speakers & Presenters
In 1991, Penn Parmenter and her husband, Cord, moved onto raw land in the Colorado mountains and began building their 43-acre homestead at 8,120’ above sea level. Since the beginning, Penn has identified wild native plants and in 2014, founded Miss Penn’s Mountain Seeds, a high-altitude seed company that specializes in wild native seeds and her favorite crop, tomatoes. She also adapts and maintains other vegetable, herb, and garden flowers for her mail-order seed business. Penn and Cord also own and operate Smart Greenhouses, a sustainable greenhouse design and build company. They have three sons who help them in all aspects of their work, Maximilian, Beauregard, and Wulfgar. You can see all of their work at www.pennandcordsgarden.com
Julie Sheen is the co-owner of Giving Ground Seeds—a homestead-based, certified-organic seed company in Pocatello, Idaho, that specializes in growing rare, open-pollinated, and heirloom varieties for short-season climates, particularly those in the Mountain West. Julie has a master’s degree in education from Portland State University focusing on leadership for sustainability education. She has worked as a garden educator at the Learning Gardens Lab in Portland, Oregon; as a learning gardens specialist at Lane Community College in Eugene, Oregon; and at the Utah State University Student Organic Farm. Julie has also worked on many other farms and gardens and has helped organize community and school gardens her whole adult life. She attended Seed School in 2015.
Hill Creek Farm is in East Coventry (Pottstown), Pennsylvania. Dorene Pasekoff and Frank Desimone care for the land there with an enthusiastic team that loves the outdoors, specialty produce, and seeds. Their seed-production philosophy is modeled after Dorene’s Pennsylvania Dutch grandfather, Roy Brown, an itinerant carpenter who always saved seed from interesting plants, then propagated those that did well in his Western Pennsylvania garden. Like Roy, they’re always looking for what grows best and tastes even better in the Mid-Atlantic region.
Melony Edwards is a first-generation farmer. On the journey of reclaiming farming, she landed on a 20-acre, mixed-vegetable farm in rural Western Washington, where she immersed herself in small-scale agricultural practices as a market farmer selling directly to chefs around the greater Seattle area. Melony’s farming adventures now focus on seed stewardship working with the Organic Seed Alliance. She also advocates for young farmers as a board member for the National Young Farmers Coalition, through which she lobbies for appropriations benefiting young farmers, representing Washington State.
Eleanor co-owns Great Lakes Staple Seeds, a homestead-based seed company in Ortonville, Michigan focused on staple crops (grains, legumes, pulses, and winter squash). Eleanor has been a member of Seed Savers Exchange, a lister on the Exchange since 2017, and coordinates Southeast Michigan Seed Savers. She is drawn to regenerative agriculture and seed saving as an important tool for increasing self-reliance, maintaining varietal diversity, strengthening regional food and seed systems, and promoting the health of the land and people.
Philip joined Seed Savers Exchange in 2013 as the tissue culture lab manager before serving as assistant curator in charge of the evaluation program from 2014-17. As director of preservation, Philip leads the team tasked with managing the vast collection of over 20,000 open-pollinated varieties. He holds master’s and doctoral degrees in horticultural sciences from the University of Florida.
Jessika is a Ho-Chunk Nation tribal member from Baraboo, Wisconsin, and a member of the Deer Clan. She is excited to share her life's work of growing and protecting our seed relatives and her desire to regenerate the soils of our Earth—and she is grateful for the opportunity to train and inspire future seed keepers. Jessika has worked as the agricultural division manager for her nation and had previously served as a garden mentor within her Nation’s organic community gardens. A U.S. Army combat veteran, she completed the Veteran-to-Farmer training program at the Rodale Institute in Pennsylvania.
Adrianna is co-founder of Empowered Flowers, a woman owned, queer, multiracial, organic farm in Oregon City, Oregon. She was born in Venezuela, immigrating to Miami at the age of 7. Adrianna studied Food Resource Economics at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst. She is a first generation farmer who has cultivated organic vegetables and seeds in Massachusetts, New York, Washington, and Oregon before founding Empowered Flowers in 2015.
Ibrahim Loeks grew up and lives in Santa Fe, New Mexico (‘Ogap’oge) traditional territories of the Tewa people. He is the Executive Director of the Mother Nature Center, whose mission is to connect human beings to Mother Nature through regenerative agriculture, seed saving, community gathering, and immersion experiences in the natural world. Ibrahim is also a member of The Tracking Project’s Community Mentors Network, a group of leaders who are committed to honoring and passing along the traditional wisdom practices of Indigenous communities. Ibrahim is a passionate Firekeeper, dedicated to fanning the flames for a just, sustainable, resilient and loving future for All the Relatives that cohabitate this beautiful planet Earth.
Sara McCamant is the cofounder of the Community Seed Exchange in Sonoma County, California. She has taught seed saving for 25 years and is committed to creating community driven seed solutions. The Community Seed Exchange has a large seed garden where most of the seed they offer in their seed library is grown. They only offer locally grown seed to the community. Sara also is the Garden Manager at Ceres Community Project working to show that food is medicine where she works with youth to teach them about healthy food from soil to community.
Cody Egan is the catalog field coordinator at Seed Savers Exchange, which puts the catalog seed productions under his purview. He has almost a decade of experience in organic agriculture, with the lion’s share in diversified vegetable crop production. Cody loves the ability seeds have to reconnect us to a specific time and place—for example,a certain soil and season during which a certain seed, and the memories associated with it, were grown.
Steffen Mirsky is the Evaluation and Trials Manager at Seed Savers Exchange in Decorah, IA. Since he joined the team in 2011, he has helped document about 6000 varieties of fruits and vegetables from the Seed Savers Exchange collection. He also manages the Citizen Science Corps, where participants from around the country trial varieties from the collection and send feedback on their performance. A graduate of the University of Washington, Steffen got his feet wet in agriculture through the WWOOF program and has a passion for the natural world and sustainable food systems.
Susana Cabrera-Mariz, Assistant Seed Historian at Seed Savers Exchange, works to research the existing SSE Collection. Susana was trained in agroecological principles from the renowned Center for Agroecology and Sustainable Food Systems, the Multinational Exchange for Sustainable Agriculture, and the Rogue Farm Corps. Susana holds a Bachelor of Science in Restoration Ecology and Resource Management from San Jose State University and utilizes her early career experiences in municipal water, project management, and information technology security to inform and guide her work.
Anna Stange has been saving seeds for nearly 30 years and is still excited about learning more! She and her husband recently moved to a small homestead in North Florida from the Midwest, and she is enjoying the challenge of growing and saving in a very different climate and landscape. Anna is a passionate seed saver and has helped start two community gardens and countless seed libraries, including three during the pandemic. A folk singer with a teaching degree, Anna also presents numerous seed saving and seed library workshops each year. Anna has enjoyed growing and saving okra, corn, squash, and sweet potatoes since her move to Florida. Her current favorites are Bowling Red okra and Sea Island Brown cotton. Her mission is to keep native, heirloom, and open-pollinated seed stocks in the public commons where they belong.
Rochelle Wiedenhoeft manages Collection seed regenerations at Seed Savers Exchange. Rochelle studied Biology and Ethnobotany at University of Wisconsin, Stevens Point, and has a background in sustainable agriculture. She loves working with and learning from seeds, especially when seed processing and cleaning.
Koby leads the SSE field operations team that regenerates our seedbank, produces seed for our catalog, and works with contract growers across the country. She draws upon a variety of interdisciplinary grassroots and academic experiences to create resilient seed production plans. She has a Masters in Community and Regional Planning: Natural Resources, the Environment, and Seed Systems, obtained her Permaculture Design Certificate in New Mexico, her Permaculture Teacher Certificate in Minnesota, has management and consultant experience with urban and rural farms, and has produced seed in NM, CO, MN, CO, and WI. She aims to always inspire and support new and veteran seed growers to dive deeper into regenerative methods and sharing our seed abundance.
Ratings & Reviews
A class for ALL seed savers!
Anyone who is interested in learning more about the miracle of the seed should sign up for this class! The content of the SSE classes is practical and well organized so that beginners as well as experienced seed savers can gain knowledge and helpful tips. The virtual forum allows it to fit into anyone's schedule and the replays are helpful in case you want to review certain topics. This is one of the best ways to get knowledge from the experts without having to travel to Iowa! Make no mistake, I love Iowa because I grew up there, but it's hard to get there!