Cow Art. Talking Trees. Rare Plants.

Grassfed Cow Art

Seed Savers Exchange will host two month-long outdoor art exhibits at Heritage Farm beginning in May.


  •  “Grassfed,” by artist Valerie Miller of Steel Cow studio in Waukon, Iowa, features larger than life outdoor portraits of the Ancient White Park Cattle living at Heritage Farm.
  • “Talking Trees,” a sound installation by Brooke Joyce from Luther College in Decorah, mixes the sounds of nature with composed music.

Both exhibits will run concurrently through May and are free to the public. These events will premiere on Saturday, May 4, 2013 (10 a.m. - 5 p.m.).  In conjunction with the exhibit opening, Seed Savers Exchange will be offering unique vegetable transplants from the preservation seed bank for sale to the public, on May 4 only. Local chef Justin Scardina from La Rana Bistro will be on site preparing food that day.

Rare Plants

The preservation plant sale, which will consist of hard toTomato find vegetable varieties, will include staff favorites like the deep maroon amaranth ‘Kerala Red,’ a nearly black lettuce ‘Revolution-Evolution,’ a classic mustard known as ‘Myers’ Family Heirloom, and the relentlessly fruitful tomato ‘Tiny Tim Yellow.’  Transplants will be sold for $3 for 3 inch pots, and $4 for 4-packs, available in limited quantities.  SSE staff will also be on hand during the event to answer gardening and seed saving questions.

Cow Art

“Grassfed” is an outdoor exhibition of largerSteel Cow than life canvases by Waukon artist Valerie Miller of Steel Cow Gallery. The exhibit shows Valerie's Ancient White Park 'girls' and 12 of their closest bovine friends. Walk along the trails to view these jumbo prints placed in the pastures at SSE's Heritage Farm. The Ancient White Park cattle, a threatened heritage breed, roamed the British Isles over 2,000 years ago.

Kids of all ages are invited to help Valerie paint an outdoor mural on May 4th.

What is Steel Cow? With a camera around her neck and sketch pad in hand, Valerie Miller stomps around fields and farms all over the world searching out the perfect cows to become one of "the girls” in the Steel Cow collection. Each has her own whimsy, wit and personality, and is branded with either their farm given name or the names of family and friends.  The end result is an image that has the spirit and sweetness of each cow rarely seen by anybody other than the farmer.

Talking Trees

The Iowa Arts Council has awarded a major grant to LutherTree College associate professor of music Brooke Joyce.  Professor Joyce is using the money to create an outdoor sound installation at Seed Savers Exchange in Decorah.

On May 4th, and throughout the month of May, all ages will be invited to travel to Seed Savers Exchange to experience the outdoor sound installation, "Talking Trees," in which the sounds of nature mingle with music created by composers Brooke Joyce and University of California-San Diego composer-in residence Harvey Sollberger.

The project will provide a walk through the forest that mixes composed music with the natural sounds like rushing water and birds chirping. The type of music and sounds being played will vary according to the time of day and atmospheric conditions.

There will be four or five canopies placed along a trail at Seed Savers Exchange, each equipped with four speakers.  Joyce and Sollberger will power these canopies with solar panels and battery energy.


Both “Grassfed” and “Talking Trees” will be on display at Seed Savers Exchange throughout the month of May.  The Lillian Goldman Visitors Center is open Monday through Friday 9 a.m. - 5 p.m. and Weekends 10 a.m. - 5 p.m. Directions here.

View, print, and share the May 4 Event Poster.

For more information, contact: Shannon Carmody Seed Savers Exchange 563-387-5630 To schedule interviews with the artists or SSE staff, contact: Steve Carlson Seed Savers Exchange 563-387-5686

Located six miles north of Decorah, Seed Savers Exchange is a non-profit membership organization dedicated to the preservation and distribution of heirloom seeds.  Seed Savers maintains a collection of thousands of open pollinated varieties, making it one of the largest non-governmental seed banks in the United States.  For more information, go to

Seed Savers Exchange featured on Public Television

Market to Market Features Seed Savers Exchange

(Johnston, Iowa)  -- Market to Market, the weekly journal of rural America, will include a story about Seed Savers Exchange and the River Root Farm in its October 26, 2012 edition of the series.

Market to Market logo

The story features Decorah, Iowa-based Seed Savers Exchange, a nonprofit seed bank that maintains thousands of heirloom vegetables, herbs, flowers, and plants. One of the nation’s largest non-governmental seed banks, Seed Savers Exchange carries heirloom varieties that have been passed down through generations of farmers and gardeners. These varieties are valued for their genetic diversity and adaptability to pressures such as climate change.

Seed Savers Exchange seeks to preserve and share agricultural heritage with its membership and the public. The Millennium Seed Bank Partnership estimates that about 25 percent of all plants are in danger of becoming extinct.

“We believe strongly that given the changes that are occurring with weather and climate, regional differences, that it’s really important that all seeds be maintained for future generations,” said John Torgrimson, president and executive director of Seed Savers Exchange. “A hundred years from now we might not know what seeds in our seed bank are best adaptable to the conditions that might exist…here in Decorah, Iowa.”

Market to Market also talked to Mike Bollinger and Katie Prochaska of the River Root Farm, a diversified vegetable and seed farm located near Decorah. River Root Farm grows garlic with seed stock from Seed Savers, and provides the organization with garlic for retail sale.

Market to Market is produced by Iowa Public Television and broadcast in 20 states on more than 114 public television stations. Hosted by Mike Pearson, Market to Market covers the $100+ billion business of food, and issues affecting the 56 million residents of rural America.

In Iowa, Market to Market can be seen at 8:30 p.m. Friday, October 26, and again at 1 p.m. on Sunday, October 28. This week’s broadcast times reflect a temporary schedule change due to political coverage on IPTV.

Market to Market can also be seen online beginning Friday evening at Additional analysis from Market to Market experts is also available on this website.

For more information about Market to Market, contact Iowa Public Television at 515-242-3146.



Information on programming channels, reception, and more can be found at


Illinois gardener to lead Seed Savers Exchange board

Image Keith CrotzDecorah, Iowa – Seed Savers Exchange, Inc., a leading non-profit organization dedicated to saving and sharing heirloom seeds, announces the election of Keith Crotz as chair of its board of directors. The decision was made at the board’s July 19th meeting.

Crotz succeeds Amy P. Goldman, who is stepping down after serving on the board for more than 10 years, half of that time as board chair. Goldman will become a special advisor to the board of directors.

Mr. Crotz, 58, has served on the board of directors since 2008 and has been active in board committees related to finances and publications. He is an agricultural literature historian and rare book dealer and owner of American Botanist Booksellers, which does collection development for colleges, universities and individuals. While on the board, Keith has been instrumental in the development of the rare books collection at Seed Savers Exchange, which includes historic seed catalogs and related ephemera. He lives in Chillicothe, Illinois, and has been a member of Seed Savers Exchange since 1984.

"This change in leadership comes at a time of unprecedented growth at Seed Savers Exchange,” Crotz said, noting that Seed Savers Exchange has more than 13,000 members in all 50 states and 40 countries. “I am proud to be asked by my colleagues to help lead this organization into the next phase of its development.”

Crotz credits Ms. Goldman of Rhinebeck, New York, the author of three books on heirloom varieties, for helping to transform Seed Savers Exchange, saying, “During Amy’s tenure as board chair, SSE doubled its membership, brought focus and professionalism to its operations, and strengthened programs that fulfill its mission.” 

“Seed Savers Exchange is in excellent hands,” Goldman said. “The board and staff have just completed a strategic long range plan and share a common vision for the future. This is the perfect time to transition to new leadership.”

Founded in 1975, Seed Savers Exchange operates an 890-acre farm in northeast Iowa where thousands of rare fruit, vegetable, and other plant varieties are regenerated and preserved in a central collection. Its mission is conserving and promoting America’s culturally diverse but endangered food crop heritage for future generations by collecting, growing, and sharing heirloom seeds and plants. For information visit

For more information contact John Torgrimson, Executive Director 563-387-5631

Honoring the earth, celebrating our members!

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With Earth Day just around the corner, we'd like to say "THANK YOU" to all SSE members for supporting our mission of preserving the earth's genetic diversity. Please leave a comment below telling us why you became a member!

Learn more about becoming a member of SSE




Welcome to the family

Please help us welcome the newest—and cutest—member of the SSE family, calf number 1801!

SSE's herd of Ancient White Park cattle is one of only five major herds in the U.S. White Park were recently upgraded from critical to threatened by the American Livestock Breeds Conservancy; threatened means that there are fewer than 1,000 annual registrations in the United States and an estimated global population less than 5,000.

Read more about Ancient White Park cattle and Heritage Farm