Category Archives: Events

Ira Wallace: Speaking Events

We’re excited to announce that Southern Exposure’s Ira Wallace will be giving a couple of talks this fall! For those new to Southern Exposure who don’t know Ira, she’s the guiding spirit behind Southern Exposure Seed Exchange; she’s been providing farmers and gardeners with high-quality, heirloom seed for decades. She supports food sovereignty and everyone’s right to save seed and is the author of an invaluable garden guidebook, The Timber Press Guide to Vegetable Gardening in the Southeast.

Black Farming: Community Land & Food Sovereignty Conference

The first event will be keynote remarks for the Black Farming: Community Land & Food Sovereignty Conference on September 11, 2021, at 3:00 pm. The conference will also feature other fantastic keynote speakers, including Dr. Jessica Gordon Nembhard, Leah Penniman, and Malik Yakini.

This year’s conference will focus on looking at the economic impacts and the power of the cooperative business model, emphasizing the power of growing your own food, from seed saving to community gardening, and celebrating the contributions of our black and underrepresented food and farming community.

The entire conference is a combination of virtual and live events on September 10th and 11th. You can find the full schedule, more information, and register for the conference here.

2021 American Community Gardening Association Conference

Later in the month, Ira will be a keynote speaker for the American Community Gardening Association Conference. She’ll be discussing Seed keeping: An Everyday Act of Resistance on Friday, September 23, 12:30 – 1:30.

She’ll discuss the importance of seed keeping to preserving cultural heritage with examples of historic varieties as well as the wealth of heirloom varieties from the African Diaspora, especially in the US and Caribbean. She’ll also touch on her work with Acorn Community Farm and Southern Exposure Seed Exchange which she says are her “legacy to young farmers looking for ways to do well doing good work.”

“Black and brown people are integral to the story of food and farming in this country. Learn how including them in our gardens through seed saving, storytelling about seeds, the traditions they represent, the taste they evoke, and the people who created great varieties can be an everyday act of resistance.” – Ira Wallace

The whole conference themed Gardening in Challenging Times will take place September 23 – 25, 2021, in Hampton, VA. It will feature more than 30 workshops where you can learn about community gardening with fellow gardeners, organizers, and sponsors from across the US.

You can find more information and register for the conference here.

Be sure to join us at one of these incredible conferences this fall! They’re an excellent way to connect with the gardening community and sharpen your gardening skills!

2020 Collard Week

Southern Exposure Seed Exchange is proud to be a partner in The Heirloom Collard Project. In conjunction with The Utopian Seed Project, Seed Savers Exchange, Working Food, and The Culinary Seed Network we’re striving to build a coalition of seed stewards, gardeners, farmers, chefs, and seed companies working to preserve heirloom collard varieties and their culinary heritage.

Join us this December as we celebrate Collard Week!

This December 14-17, immerse yourself in food history, seed stewardship, gardening, farming, cooking, and more. Join the conversation as part of the Heirloom Collard Project!

All events start at 1 PM Eastern and will be live broadcasted via Culinary Breeding Network’s Youtube channel. All episodes will be approximately 1 hour in length.


Monday, December 14, 1 PM – Michael Twitty presents the History and Significance of Collards in the South

Michael Twitty will kick off Collard Week with a talk about the historical, culinary, and cultural heritage of collards in the South.

A 45 minute pre-recorded presentation will be followed by a Live Q&A with award-winning author, Michael Twitty.

Tuesday, December 15, 1 PM [Part I] – Ira Wallace & Co. present Results and Updates from the 2020 HEIRLOOM COLLARDS TRIAL

  • Ira Wallace will share an overview of the Heirloom Collard Project.
  • Nora from Seed Savers Exchange will share preliminary results from the 2020 Collards Trial.
  • Collards across the USA – a photo show of collard trial participants.

Tuesday, December 15, 1 PM [Part II] – Jon Jackson leads a Collard Trial Farm Tour of Comfort Farms

Jon Jackson, a former US Army Ranger, started Stag Vets, Inc, operating at Comfort Farms where he says, “nothing grows in comfort.” Well aware of the trauma returning veterans face, Jon created a space for healing and connection through an approach he calls “Agro-Cognitive Behavior Therapy”.

Wednesday, December 16, 1 PM – Amirah Mitchell presents Saving Seeds and Growing Community

Amirah Mitchell will teach us how to save seeds, with a focus on brassicas (Collards), and why it’s so important.

Amirah has worked in agriculture for over 12 years and is a practicing seed keeper of over two years, focusing on food crops of the African diaspora. Currently, she is studying horticulture at Temple University and is spending her third season working at Truelove Seeds.

Thursday, December 17, 1 PM – Ashleigh Shanti presents Cooking with Collards

Ashleigh Shanti will lead a cooking demonstration and discourse on cooking with collards. We’ll share her recipe ahead of time so you can be prepared to cook along and enjoy the dish!



To learn more about these awesome events please visit The Collard Week website.


These events are free but you do need to register ahead of time. Please register at The Culinary Breeding Network website.

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.


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!