Course offers immersion into seed

The Rocky Mountain Seed Alliance, along with the Mancos Seed Library, the Mt. Lookout Grange and Laughing Wolf Farm announce Seed School in a Day, an innovative workshop that will offer an overview of the history, science, business and craft of seeds in an engaging format appropriate for all skill levels and backgrounds.

This one-day course will be presented in Mancos on Saturday, Aug. 9 at the Mt. Lookout Grange from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Cost for the course is $60 and includes lunch. Scholarships are available.

Seed School in a Day is a condensed version of the popular six-day Seed School program developed in 2010 by longtime seed educators and alliance co-founders Bill McDorman and Belle Starr. As former co-directors of the seed conservation organization Native Seeds/SEARCH, McDorman and Starr produced nearly two-dozen Seed School courses nationwide and graduated over 525 students from around the world. The course has been featured in the Los Angeles Times, San Francisco Chronicle, and in the documentary films Open Sesame: The Story of Seeds and the forthcoming SEED: The Untold Story.

In less than a century of industrial agriculture, our seed diversity created by farmers and gardeners over the millennia has been winnowed to a handful of mass-produced varieties. As the renowned naturalist and author Gary Paul Nabhan puts it, "Many of our seeds today are as endangered as a panda or polar bear."

The speed and scope of this loss is staggering, and its implications for our future are stark. An article in National Geographic reported that up to 96% of the vegetable seeds available in 1903 have disappeared. In an era of climate uncertainty, this is a recipe for catastrophic crop failure and human suffering.

Now under the mantle of their newly formed Rocky Mountain Seed Alliance nonprofit, Seed School in a Day will instill participants with the knowledge, resources, and inspiration to develop more sovereign and secure seed systems where they live. The workshops will also help the alliance identify and connect with potential "Seed Stewards" and community seed growers and educators who will collaborate with the Alliance to assess the needs, available resources, and seed management strategies in their communities.

Seed School in a Day workshops are scheduled in Mancos, on Aug. 9; Colorado Springs, Aug. 16; and Boulder Aug. 23. More dates and locations will be announced in the coming weeks.

Information: Belle Starr:, or 928-300-7989.