Category Archives: Events

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!

Support Seed Diversity: 2019 Southeast Organic Seed Summit

At Southern Exposure Seed Exchange we strive to promote organic gardening, sustainable agriculture, and everyone’s right to save seed. That’s why we’re proud to be part of the 2019 Southeast Organic Seed Summit team. This event features workshops on seed production, plant breeding, variety trials, and seed enterprise development.

Why do Organic Seeds Matter?

Some research shows that seeds grown on organic farms are better adapted to dealing with pest and disease issues than their conventional counterparts. This could be because on organic farms plants aren’t given the benefit of synthetic protection from these problems. They cope with them or die. Preserving the diversity of organic seeds available to both farmers and home growers could be key to finding varieties that will cope with a changing climate.

Gather & Learn 

We encourage everyone to join SESE at this awesome event! Gather together with current and potential seed growers, organic seed companies, and allies with the goal of developing long-term strategies and collective actions to build seed systems in the Southeast. Take workshops on seed production, plant breeding, variety trials, and seed enterprise development and join in on farmer-to-farmer information sharing, networking, and listening sessions.

Mark your calendars, the summit is Friday morning, November 1st through Sunday morning, November 3rd. Check out the summit agenda for more workshop details. Tickets are on sale now so get yours soon. We can’t wait to see you there!

Come See Ira Wallace

SESE’s Ira Wallace will be at the Summit. Come see her as she co-hosts a couple workshops:

  • Regional pest, disease and climatic factors in seed development
  • Growing vegetable seed in the Southeast

Scholarships Available – Apply by September 7th

Limited scholarships are available to participate in the summit. Awards are prioritized for farmers and financially limited or socially disadvantaged attendees. The application period closes at midnight Pacific Time on September 7, 2019. Apply here.