Decorah Native Appointed Deputy Director of Seed Savers Exchange

Seed Savers Exchange

Lynne RillingDecorah, IA— Seed Savers Exchange (SSE), the nation’s leading nonprofit organization dedicated to saving and sharing heirloom seeds, is pleased to announce the appointment of Lynne Rilling as the nonprofit’s Deputy Director - Administration. This is a new position created by the Board of Directors to respond to the growth the organization has achieved over the last few years. A Certified Public Accountant, Rilling received her B.A. at Upper Iowa University.  She has extensive business and management experience, having served as controller/General Manager of Hotel Winneshiek as well as an accountant with Hacker Nelson & Co. Hired by Seed Savers Exchange in October 2011 as the chief financial officer, serving both as corporate treasurer and chief accountant, Rilling’s additional responsibilities will include management of human resources and the operation of the Lillian Goldman Visitor Center.

“Lynne’s skills, hard work and professional demeanor are a perfect match for our growing organization,” SSE’s Executive Director John Torgrimson said.  “She is a delight to work with and is highly regarded by her colleagues and peers.”

While at Hacker Nelson & Co. around 1999-2000, Rilling was assigned to handle the accounting contract at Seed Savers Exchange. “I always thought if there was an opening that was a fit for me [at Seed Savers Exchange] I would take it. I love the mission, vision, and values of the organization. It’s a fantastic place to work,” Rilling commented.

Rilling also has an interesting connection with SSE’s Heritage Farm, located six miles north of Decorah. The land where the iconic barn and Lillian Goldman Visitor’s Center now sits was once owned by Phillip and Clara Halse in the late 1800’s - they are Lynne’s great-great grandparents on her father Earl’s side of the family.

Rilling was born and raised in rural Decorah and is a graduate of North Winneshiek High School.  She is active in the community, serving as a board member on the Decorah Chamber’s Downtown Decorah Betterment Association.  Lynne and her husband Donald Rilling have three grown children, Justin, Jesse and Morgan.

 

About Seed Savers Exchange (SSE): Located six miles north of Decorah, Iowa, 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.

Hope Shand, Marty Teitel elected to Seed Savers Exchange Board of Directors

Seed Savers Exchange

Decorah, Iowa — Seed Savers Exchange, Inc. is pleased to announce the election of Hope Shand and Marty Teitel to its board of directors.  The two nominations were approved at a special meeting of the board on Wednesday, April 24, 2013, bringing the total number of board members to nine directors. Hope Shand

Shand and Teitel both have extensive experience as advocates for agricultural biodiversity and have had long standing relationships with Seed Savers Exchange (SSE).

Hope Shand, of Durham, North Carolina, is an author, researcher and consultant who has conducted extensive research and written on the topics of agricultural biodiversity and intellectual property, as well as the social and economic impacts of new biotechnologies. Her most recent consultancies were with the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, and the Canadian-based civil society organizations, ETC Group and USC Canada.

Marty Teitel

Based in Sheepscot, Maine, Marty Teitel is an author, editor, and genetic diversity advocate. He has authored numerous articles and books, including “Genetically Engineered Food: Changing the Nature of Nature.” Marty has extensive experience with international development and foundation work, having devoted the entirety of his career to nonprofit organizations focused on a wide range of humanitarian and environmental causes. He is the author of the Safe Seed Pledge, a standard many seed companies have signed stating that they do not knowingly sell or grow genetically engineered seeds and plants.

SSE board chair Keith Crotz called the addition of Shand and Teitel an important step in SSE fulfilling its goal to conserve and promote America's agricultural biodiversity.

“Marty and Hope are extraordinary people who are committed to our mission,” Crotz said. “The two of them will bring valuable experience and expertise to our board.”  Shand and Teitel were both elected to three-year terms.

For more information, contact: John Torgrimson, Executive Director john@seedsavers.org (563) 382-5631

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 www.seedsavers.org

 

#30

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

  •  “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 shannon@seedsavers.org 563-387-5630 To schedule interviews with the artists or SSE staff, contact: Steve Carlson Seed Savers Exchange steve@seedsavers.org 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 seedsavers.org

Seed Savers Exchange Ships Two More Crates to the Svalbard Global Seed Vault

DSC_5090_web

Preparing Seeds for the Svalbard Global Seed Vault Untouchable by hurricanes, impervious to tectonic movement, protected by polar bears, and reachable only through methods worthy of reality television - the Svalbard Global Seed Vault provides the ultimate in long term storage for seed. On February 14th, Seed Savers Exchange sent its sixth shipment of seed to the vault, located on a remote archipelago in arctic Norway. This vault serves as a global gene bank for the world’s food crops, and will provide long-term back up for Seed Saver Exchange’s preservation collections. To date, Seed Savers Exchange has deposited a total of 2,248 unique varieties, and continues to deposit seeds of several hundred varieties every year.

To prepare the seeds for long-term storage, seeds are dried until they have approximately 5% moisture content, and are then heat sealed into air-tight packets. Once inside the vault, the packets will be kept at 0°F (-17°C) and will remain viable for a very long time. Similar to a safe deposit box at the bank, only Seed Savers Exchange has access to the materials deposited. This ‘Black Box’ agreement is made with each depositor, and ensures that only the depositor can access their own seeds in the vault.

Shipping Seeds to the Svalbard Global Seed Vault

The Svalbard seed vault was built deep into mountainous permafrost, which keeps the vault at below freezing temperatures even without a cooling system. Furthermore, its treacherous and remote location protects the vault from possible harm due to natural disasters and human powered calamities like a nuclear bomb strike. This kind of protection ensures Seed Savers Exchanges’ seeds will be safe for many years to come.

“As one of 1400 seed banks in the world, Seed Savers Exchange is proud to deposit an additional 366 varieties in the Svalbard Global Seed Bank in Norway, bringing our total deposits to more than 2,000 varieties. The global seed bank, with 725,000 total deposits, represents man’s best efforts to ensure that today's seed varieties are available for future generations.” – John Torgimson, Seed Savers Exchange president.

Read more about the genetic resources preservation efforts at Seed Savers Exchange here.

Seed Savers Exchange Distributes 2013 Yearbook

Annual publication makes available more than 12,000 heirloom and open-pollinated varieties of seed.

Decorah, IA. For the past 38 years, the Yearbook, which is distributed to Seed Savers Exchange’s 13,000 members, has grown into one of the largest private seed indexes in the United States. The Yearbook was created in 1975 in an effort to involve gardeners in the preservation of America’s garden heritage.

Seed Savers Exchange 2013 Yearbook Cover

A non-profit grassroots organization, Seed Savers Exchange (SSE) asks its members, most of whom are home gardeners, to play a vital role as participatory conservationists in collecting, maintaining and sharing heirloom and open-pollinated seeds. Unlike hybrid seeds, the seeds of heirloom and open-pollinated varieties can be saved and grown again and will produce fruit true to the parent plant, a process used for thousands of years. The annual Yearbook is the preservation tool that fosters the sharing of seeds between SSE members.

“The Yearbook first started out as a mimeographed list of seeds shared by a handful of Seed Savers Exchange supporters back in 1975,” recalled Diane Ott Whealy, co-founder and Vice President of SSE. “Today, it is a 500 page compilation with almost 20,000 listings, ranging from Amaranth to Watermelon.”

This year SSE members have the opportunity to choose from 12,495 unique varieties from 694 listed members found across all 50 states and 12 countries. A listed member is a gardener or farmer who saves seed and offers them for exchange in the Yearbook. Each of these listed members provides an answer to what varieties perform well in their specific location: ‘Luther Hill’ corn in Ontario, ‘Speckled Butter’ bean in Mississippi, ‘Wenk’s Yellow Hots’ pepper in California, ‘Green Nutmeg’ muskmelon in Indiana, to name a few. Each variety offered in the Yearbook provides a connection between seed saver and grower.

“With the potential for climate change, the genetic variability of heirloom and open pollinated seeds has never been more important to safeguarding our future,” Whealy noted. “And the role the Yearbook and the Exchange plays is critical to providing alternatives for gardeners in an ever changing environment.” Learn more about the Yearbook and becoming a Seed Savers Exchange member here.

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 Exchange maintains a collection of thousands of open-pollinated varieties, making it one of the largest non-governmental seed banks in the United States.  For information visit www.seedsavers.org.

For More Information, Contact:

Steve Carlson Seed Savers Exchange 563-387-5686 newsroom@seedsavers.org

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 www.iptv.org/mtom. 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.

IPTV Logo

 

Information on programming channels, reception, and more can be found at www.iptv.org.

 

Antique apple varieties on display at Seed Savers Exchange’s Harvest Festival

Kerr, Apple 101If you love apples, then you won’t want to miss the Harvest Festival at Seed Savers Exchange on Saturday, October 13, 10:00 am – 4:00 pm. Come learn that there is more to American apple diversity than Red Delicious and all her modern cousins.

Bring your seeds saved from this year’s harvest for the seed swap. Sample antique apple varieties and vote in the Harvest Soup Cook-off featuring area chefs from La Rana, McCaffrey’s Dolce Vita, Oneota Community Food Cooperative, and QUARTER/quarter.

Other events taking place at the Seed Savers Exchange Harvest Festival—tours, seed swap, apple pressing, and hayrides—begin at noon.  Children’s activities—squash squisher, pumpkin carving & seed saving, seed packet making and collecting, pillow sack threshing, and a garden scavenger hunt—will be happening all day.

Harvest Lecture Series

This year Seed Savers Exchange presents several lectures, including two speakers who are devoted to using healthy food as a tool for developing communities. 

  • 10:00am Seed Savers Exchange—“Seed Processing.” Learn how to process seeds and prepare them for storage.
  • 11:00am Seed Savers Exchange—“Seed Stories.” Hear the stories and learn how some of our favorite varieties came to be. Seed Savers Exchange launched the Collection Origins Research Effort (CORE), a massive sleuthing effort to collect and record complete histories of thousands of varieties.
  • 12:00pm Seed Savers Exchange—“Hard Cider Making.”  Learn various ways hard cider can be made.
  • Emily Torgrimson photo1:00pm Emily Torgrimson—“Sponsoring community meals to support charitable organizations.”  Torgrimson is founder of Eat for Equity, a non-profit that stages community meals and uses the donations to fund the work of charitable organizations. Featured on the TODAY Show, Eat for Equity has branches in Minneapolis, Boston, Portland, Washington D.C. and Phoenix.
  • Dan Carmody photo3:00 pm Dan Carmody—"Developing Regional Food Systems." Carmody is the President of the Eastern Market Corporation, Detroit, Michigan, where he leads the non-profit charged with converting one of the nation’s oldest and largest public markets into the nation’s most comprehensive healthy metropolitan food hub.

Seed Saving Workshop

For the garden enthusiast, a full-day workshop on the fundamentals of seed saving will be held on Sunday, October 14, from 10:00 am - 4:00 pm. This includes an introduction to seed saving, saving biennials, wet and dry processing and storing seeds. Participants will get hands-on seed saving experience. Preregistration is required. Cost is $40 and includes a box lunch (Seed Savers Exchange members receive a 10% discount). Register here.

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 Exchange maintains a collection of thousands of open pollinated varieties, making it one of the largest non-governmental seed banks in the United States.  For information visit www.seedsavers.org.

 

For more information contact:

Shannon Carmody Seed Savers Exchange shannon@seedsavers.org 563-387-5630

Tomato Tasting and Seed Saving Workshop

tomato tasting 2011 JT 060

Seed Savers Exchange near Decorah, Iowa, is hosting a free Tomato Tasting and Seed Saving Workshop on Saturday, September 1, 2012. The Tomato Tasting will run from 1:00 – 4:00 pm, offering visitors the opportunity to sample a wide variety of heirloom tomatoes and learn how to save tomato seeds. Dester tomato image

The event will be held at the Lillian Goldman Visitors Center. More than 40 varieties of tomatoes of all colors and sizes will be available, including yellow cherry, pink beefsteak, striped stuffing, red grape and green roma’s. This year’s tasting will include 10 rare varieties from Seed Savers Exchange’s seed bank collection. Last year, Dester, a beefsteak tomato from the rare varieties was voted most popular.

The Oneota Food Co-op in Decorah is sponsoring this year’s Salsa Contest. Limited to 25 entrants, applications are available at the Co-op, by calling 563-382-4666, and online at www.oneotacoop.com. The registration deadline is Monday, August 27. The co-op will also be providing food for purchase during the event.

Tomato tasters sampling over 40 varieties of tomatoesThere will be tomato seed saving workshops beginning at 12:00 noon featuring Seed Savers Exchange staff as well as tomato advisor and expert Craig LeHoullier. LeHoullier will give two talks, Tasting the Biodiversity of Tomatoes and Tomatoes with Great Stories and Great Flavors. Visitors will be able to tour Seed Savers Exchange’s tomato gardens. Guided hayride tours begin at 12:00 noon and are scheduled for every 45 minutes.

“This family event gives people the opportunity to experience the wide diversity of tomatoes available, and learn how to improve their own gardening experience,” says Diane Ott Whealy, co-founder of Seed Savers Exchange. The event will include music with special activities planned for kids.

All events are free to the public.

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 non-profit 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 www.seedsavers.org

 

For more information contact:

Shannon Carmody Seed Savers Exchange shannon@seedsavers.org 563-387-5630

Seed Savers Exchange announces Harvest Lecture Series

Barn in the Morning at SSE Heritage Farm

Decorah, Iowa – Seed Savers Exchange, Inc., a leading non-profit organization dedicated to saving and sharing heirloom seeds, announces its Harvest Lecture Series. The series is designed to connect everyday gardeners and eaters with professionals in the food and seed industries. The Harvest Lecture Series is based on the Science Café model of engaging the general public in a casual setting, an atmosphere where everyone joins in. These lectures and discussions are meant to involve people who may not typically have these conversations.

The lecture series, which will take place in the barn loft at historic Heritage Farm near Decorah, feature

  • September 7: Dr. Bill Tracy, "Public Plant Breeding and the Role of Land Grant Universities"
  • October 13: Dan Carmody, "Developing Regional Food Systems" and Emily Torgrimson, “Eat for Equity: using community meals to support charitable organizations” (rescheduled from August 17)
  • October 19: Dan Bussey, "Our Apple Heritage"

Dr. William Tracy, Ph.D., Professor of Agronomy at UW-Madison, is a sweet corn breeder. To improve eating quality and pest resistance, Bill works with corn varieties from around the world. He creates and releases improved populations, inbreds, and hybrids.

Dan Carmody is the President of the Eastern Market Corporation, Detroit, MI, where he leads the non-profit charged with converting one of the nation’s oldest and largest public markets into the nation’s most comprehensive healthy metropolitan food hub.

Carmody will be joined by Emily Torgrimson, founder and Executive Director of Eat for Equity, a non-profit that stages community meals and uses the donations to fund the work of charitable organizations. Featured on the Today Show, Eat for Equity has branches in Minneapolis, Boston, Portland, Washington D.C. and Phoenix.

Dan Bussey is the Orchard Manager at Seed Savers Exchange. Apple historian and orchard keeper, Bussey has written a book on 14,000 apple varieties grown in North America since the 1600s which is scheduled to be published later this year. He owns a four-acre orchard in Wisconsin featuring more than 250 apple varieties.

Each lecture begins at 7:30 pm and costs $10 ($5 in advance). Refreshments will be served by Oneota Food Coop in Decorah beginning at 6:30.  Register here.

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 non-profit 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 www.seedsavers.org.

This event is co-sponsored by the Leopold Center.

For more information contact: Shannon Carmody, Public Programs Manager shannon@seedsavers.org 563-387-5630

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 www.seedsavers.org

For more information contact John Torgrimson, Executive Director john@seedsavers.org 563-387-5631