Carol Deppe: Plant Selection for Seed Saving

When asked if she is a lifelong gardener, Carol Deppe laughed.  

“My first gardening experience was with three indoor potted citrus trees that I brought to work,” Deppe admitted frankly.  A Harvard graduate and one of the first women in her field, Deppe’s career began at the University of Minnesota as a faculty geneticist.  

So how does a scientist who began her career spending nearly every waking minute in the lab end up breeding organic, disease resistant, and locally adapted vegetables?

Deppe, owner of Fertile Valley Seeds is a plant breeder and gardener who has built her career around breeding organics “to put the full power of genetics in the hands of the public and backyard gardeners.”  Her self-reliant, do-it-yourself style empowers home gardeners to get the highest volume and best-tasting produce from their gardens for the most efficient use of space and manpower.

[Plant selection] is the heart and soul of seed saving and variety maintenance.

Seed Savers Exchange is proud to feature Deppe as a keynote speaker for the 36th annual Conference & Campout this July.  Her speech, The Art & Science of Selection, will focus on plant selection which according to Deppe “is the heart and soul of seed saving and variety maintenance.”  She will discuss the scientific basis of selection and how seed saving and selection differ in organic systems.  Deppe will also share methods on how to get automatic selection for plant vigor, high growth rate, productivity, organic adaptation, and resilience.

On top of that, Deppe will lead a workshop, Join the Open Source Seed Revolution - Talk and SongfestBoard director of the Open Source Seed Initiative, she will discuss the fight to preserve and take back seed rights as well as share in OSSI fight songs.  Bring your own guitars!  

For more about Deppe, visit her website at