‘The Botanical Explorer’ coming to SEED swap this Saturday

By TORRIE BIRKEMEIER, guest columnist

The community is invited to take part in a series of workshops and talks from nationally-known and local speakers in an interactive event about gardening and growing native plants and food plants on Saturday, Oct. 15, beginning at 11 a.m. at the Brown County Public Library.

SEED Brown County is hosting this free inaugural seed swap with plans to host two each year. The event focus is addressing locally adapted seeds and practices shared by local and regional experts. Drop-ins are welcome to hear speakers, pick up free seeds and learn seed saving, diversity and other related topics.

Among the topics presented will be:

  • Importance of diversity
  • Seed saving
  • Local food
  • Native plants
  • Gardening

As SEED Brown County executive director, I’m excited to be hosting this event and featuring such local experts as Scott Stowers of The Wood Frog, a Brown County organic farm, who will present on native pollinators.

As a certified perma-culture designer and urban farming instructor, I’ll be delivering a presentation on seed saving and sharing in diversity.

Other presenters include:

Clyde “The Weed Eater” Myers of Columbus, leading a foraging walk and introducing participants to the concept of wild edibles and foraging.

Holly Newman-Stump of Morning Glory Locavore speaking on “No-Till & Chemical Free Gardening.”

International Plant Explorer Joseph Simcox, “The Botanical Explorer,” presenting on seeds and worldwide diversity.

Presentations will continue throughout the day. To learn more about the event, check out our website, seedbrowncounty.org, or like our event on Facebook for frequent updates.


If your family has seeds that have become heirlooms in your family, or if you simply love growing and collecting seeds, we want your story.

SEED is conducting oral interviews and is collecting research and documentation on the seeds that have been grown here in Brown County currently and in the past.

The project started as a result of acquiring the remnants of iconic Brown County man Jack Weddle’s corn seed collection.

SEED Brown County hosts events like seed and plant swaps, workshops and seminars which bring seeds and the stories to the center of conversations here in Brown County.

We are gearing up for 2017 and seeking community support to help the organization reach its goal of establishing a seed library in the public domain that would be accessible by the entire community to use and contribute to.

At each event, community members can bring their seeds and stories where they may be catalogued and documented. Details about the seeds and their cultivation can be collected and then shared with the public.

So if you have a jar of seeds that your Papaw, grandma or uncle have used for years here in Brown County, bring them along!

Those who have brought seeds from other areas can also contribute.

At each event, seeds are placed on a table for sharing and swapping. If you have a collection you can share, we will have tables and chairs for you.

Extra seeds that are left will go in to the community seed box which is held by SEED Brown County and will be available to the community at all future events.

SEED Brown County is a local not-for-profit organization formed in 2016 by Torrie and Kyle Birkemeier.

SEED Brown County is working to cultivate stewardship within our community to help preserve diversity, secure food, and grow a more resilient Brown County.

What this means is we are hosting seed and plant swaps along with workshops and trainings to start and continue conversations about connecting the gardeners, growers, restaurants, food pantries and schools in our community in a way that is mutually beneficial for all.

We would like to bridge some gaps in Brown County and offer leadership, support and resources in reducing food deserts — or places where people don’t have access to fresh, unprocessed food in our county.

Torrie Birkemeier is executive director of SEED Brown County. The group’s website is seedbrowncounty.org.