Letter: SEED Brown County gearing up for spring soon

To the editor:

On Oct. 15, SEED Brown County held a regional seed swap at the Brown County Public Library hosting more than 100 event attendees from five Indiana counties and four states.

A variety of speakers and a number of volunteers contributed to stage a program that captured research data and information, paving the path to a robust, multi-layered future for our community and of course, for SEED Brown County!

Each speaker engaged a captive audience in a number of sessions throughout the day. As the executive director of our fledgling organization, I must emphasize how grateful I am for the amazing turnout and interest I witnessed from our community members for our local food project. It is evidence that our mission is embraced and our needs, significant.

As every single one of us shares and learns, we multiply our reach and gain the potential to truly birth a movement right here in little Brown County. This tiny movement has already started spilling out beyond the county and beyond the state and into other communities here in our region! Please consider attending an event or reaching out to learn more of how you can get involved!

While seeds and the Brown County community remain the focus of our project, we were thrilled to have become a regional hub for our mission as we welcomed such a variety of guests to the swap.

The event was buzzing with locals who were sharing their seeds and stories as well as out-of-state attendees hailing from Kentucky, Michigan and Ohio. The diversity of the group permitted the sharing of heirloom seeds from a multi-state radius, which means we were able to get more responsibly sourced heirloom seeds into the hands of Indiana growers.

We at SEED Brown County consider this success a great jumping-off point for our 2017 programs which will include seed grower trainings, workshops and events. We will continue to share local knowledge, seeds and information with which to equip our community members to grow seed stock for a Seed Library which makes the locally adapted seeds available to anyone who wishes to plant them here in Brown County (and beyond.)

At the end of the event, our seed project received a seed donation from a grower in northern Indiana named John Sherck. He came from Bristol, Indiana, with a lot of great heirloom seeds and stories that he cultivates himself. He is a dedicated seed producer and grower in our region, and we are so happy to build the network and bridge the connections between counties and projects.

John’s remaining seeds that were left over after the swap were donated to SEED Brown County. We will use these seeds as the foundation to our Seed Library.

This means we have a LOT of delicious heirloom seeds which we are providing to YOU, the community, with hopes you will join us in saving and sharing in the coming seasons, or learning with us how to do that. Please consider joining us in an effort to get more diversity into the gardens, mouths and bellies of Brown County folk!

The current seed list consists of heirloom corn, beans, grains, wildflowers and native plants. The seed list can be viewed on our website at seedbrowncounty.com.

The seeds are available to the community at any time; we are just safe-keeping them for winter and hope to get them into Brown County gardens by spring.

Our next event to showcase the seeds will be on Wednesday, Feb. 1 where we will host our first public meeting regarding Brown County’s future Seed Library. Stay tuned for more details, or log on to our Facebook page to learn more: facebook.com/browncountyseedproject.

Torrie Birkemeier, SEED Brown County

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