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eNewsletter for February 13, 2018

Grain Gratitude
grainschoolAnother fabulous Grain School is on the books! The sold-out, 2018 edition of this immersive three-day course guided another group of students through the fascinating and delicious world of heritage grains.
RMSA co-directors Bill McDorman and Belle Starr first cooked up the Grain School concept in 2012 while directors of Native Seeds/SEARCH (NS/S) in Tucson. Dr. Nanna Meyer from the University of Colorado, Colorado Springs (UCCS) and her students (among them Sean Svette, now a lecturer with the UCCS Sustainability Wellness and Learning program) attended the NS/S course in 2013.
Hailing from Switzerland, Dr. Meyer was already deeply immersed in heritage grain culture. The course inspired her to lead an effort in the Mountain West to teach regional communities about the cultural benefits, economic advantages, and culinary delight of locally produced and prepared heritage grains. In 2015, the Rocky Mountain Seed Alliance and UCCS (under Dr. Meyer’s direction) picked up the mantle and revived Grain School in an exciting collaboration.
Now in its third year, this annual educational gathering has been instrumental in launching the Ark Watershed Grain Project and RMSA’s Rocky Mountain Heritage Grain Trials as well as inspiring dozens of grain growers, bakers, brewers, and millers to take part in a region-wide heritage grain revival. Thanks to all the volunteers, special guests, and UCCS/RMSA staff that made this year’s course such a phenomenal success. We’ll see everyone again in 2019!
Seed Prayers Globally

The Rocky Mountain Seed Alliance was contacted recently by an extension agent in Colorado who heard from a person from a local church interested in transporting seeds to places like Central America and Africa. We had a lively and rather eye-opening discussion regarding several topics and ways to think about this potential idea. Are we talking legalities and logistics regarding the transport of seeds or are we talking about the morality and long-term sustainability of a community with regards to their traditional seed saving practices?  It brought to mind the parable of "giving a person a fish and they'll eat for a day versus teaching a person to fish so they can eat for a lifetime."

As some of you know, last year Bill McDorman and Belle Starr were invited to the Philippines to teach seed saving. The province of Tublay had a robust and active group of 50 organic farmers needing more training in seed saving. The experience was profound.  It was spearheaded by Sherry Manning, Executive Director of Global Seed Savers, who founded  Friends of ENCA Farm when she was a peace corp volunteer over 10 years ago. Sherry was inspired by the idea that there are ways to serve international communities in need of wisdom and support so they can reconnect with their own traditions. Her conclusion; more important than sending seeds, send seed teachers!

Rocky Mountain Seed Alliance has a growing network of Teacher Training Graduates who we suspect would love to travel. We are setting up a conference call next week to walk through some of the roles and goals as seen through places of faith and other groups and how we might be able to facilitate supporting communities in need of these kinds of services. We would love to have you participate if you feel called. Please email Belle: and we will put you on our list.

Stick It To Them
While attending the Arcosanti Convergence (Mayer, Arizona) in November last year we met Scott Dewald, an attorney who is involved with the Arcosanti Advisory Board. Scott asked how anyone would know if the produce they are buying at the markets actually comes from locally produced seeds? Good question Scott. He actually came up with the answer: a sticker that stated such. 

Now available in sheets of 40 for $4.00, (includes postage). These two-inch beauties can be affixed on fruit and veggies, tent stands, clipboards or any surface anywhere. Pretty cool, huh? Help us spread the word. 
Plant Seeds of Justice—Become a Seed Teacher!
With the 50th anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King’s death this year, many people are talking about radical leadership. Just as in Dr. King’s time, our world is in need of change—and our unjust and unsustainable food system is a vital place to start.
If you have ever considered stepping up your engagement with seeds—as a mentor, teacher, or community organizer—the local seed movement needs you now! RMSA’s Seed School Teacher Training course is designed to inspire and mobilize new seed leaders to become powerful change agents in their communities.
Seed School Teacher Training
April 22 – 27, 2018
Posner Center, Denver, CO
Presented by Rocky Mountain Seed Alliance, Global Seed Savers, and Denver Urban Gardens
This transformative six-day course will equip you with practical seed knowledge and leadership skills to help foster regenerative, grassroots seed initiatives where you live. Join the ranks of nearly 100 Seed Teachers from across the Mountain West and beyond who have followed the call and channeled their seed passions into local action. A new seed and food paradigm is coming—and you can help lead the way!
Take Your Pick
It’s a new year, and we have a slew of exciting Seed School in a Day opportunities to inform and inspire you in 2018! These knowledge-packed, day-long workshops are a crash course in all things seeds—from genetics to selection to starting your own homegrown seed projects.
Take your pick of the upcoming offerings and take a deep dive into traditional seed saving with us:
Seed School in a Day
Saturday, March 24, 2018
with Slow Food Prescott
Scholarships available for teachers
Saturday, March 31, 2018
Saturday, April 14, 2018
In Memoriam: Ed Hacskylo

edIt is with a heavy heart that we say goodbye to a true seed hero and friend to RMSA, Ed Hacskaylo. Ed passed away last month at the age of 93.

A memorial service for Ed is scheduled for Saturday, February 17th at the Tucson Botanical Gardens, from 2:00 to 5:00 p.m.

Ed was one of the foremost scholars on and early proponents of the benefits of mycorrhiza. He was a tremendous mentor to Belle Starr and Bill McDorman when they began at Native Seeds/SEARCH in 2011. Ed had been involved with the organization in various capacities almost since its beginning, including Chairman of the Board. 

Ed was a big fan of Rocky Mountain Seed Alliance as soon as it launched in 2014. He championed our many programs and supported them in various ways through his friendship, and ongoing contributions. We will miss this amazing man and his delicious cookies we sampled weekly and especially during our Seed School presentations. 

RMSA Speaks in Oregon and New Mexico

tomatoWe are excited to be included as guest speakers at two upcoming conferences!

RMSA Executive Director Bill McDorman has been invited to give a talk once again at the prestigious Organic Seed Growers Conference in Corvalis, Oregon (February 14–17). This biennial gathering is the largest organic seed event in the U.S., drawing a diverse range of attendees including farmers, gardeners, researchers, breeders, and policymakers. RMSA is honored to be invited and link our work in with the broader movement for sustainable, organic, local seeds.

RMSA will also be presenting at the New Mexico Organic Farming Conference (February 15–16). This annual event is the premier conference for organic farming in the Southwest. The conference offers a unique opportunity for regional food producers and researchers to convene, share their experiences, and advance the organic growing movement.

Bill McDorman will be presenting a session covering the Rocky Mountain Heritage Grain Trials program. Bill will also be leading a discussion on the complicated issues around utility seed patenting, especially as they overlap with organic seeds.

Join us if you can for these spirited talks!

Seedster's Apprentice

internSeeds not only give life, but they can also be an amazing way to make a living! In this spirit, RMSA is always thrilled to share opportunities for seed/farming apprenticeships in our community. Please contact us if you have a seed-related work-trade or intern/apprentice program you'd like to spread the word about. We will gladly share it!

One such opportunity is available with our friend Karl Sutton at his Fresh Roots Farm in Montana. Karl teaches sustainable agriculture at the University of Montana and collaborated with us on a Seed School many years back. He has been in this work a long time and it is our good fortune to have him in our fold!

Fresh Roots Farm Internship
Fresh Roots Farm is a certified organic vegetable, small fruit and seed farm located seven miles south of Polson at the base of the Mission Mountains. They have two internship positions for 5 months beginning May 1, 2018. No previous farm experience needed, but must have a strong work ethic. Interns will work side-by-side with farmers starting plants, transplanting, weeding, setting up and record keeping of field trials, harvesting vegetables, processing a value-added product, selling at farmers markets, managing irrigation and harvesting, threshing and winnowing seeds and preparing biennial seed crops (carrots and beets) for long term storage.

Learn more and apply here.

Be a Part of Seed History—Join RMSA's Programs
“What are you doing today that will have any relevance in a thousand years?”
RMSA Executive Director Bill McDorman loves to pose this provocative question. If you are saving, sharing, and growing seeds, you are already living the answer!
Getting engaged with seeds may be the only thing we can do in our lives that will make a difference a thousand years into the future. Think about this: while our technologies come and go, our cities rise and fall, and our books crumble to dust, our seeds can continuously renew themselves, generation after generation.
You can be a part of this timeless process and make a profound difference that is felt today and millennia into the future. The Rocky Mountain Seed Alliance has a range of programs for all skill levels and interests to get involved in. Join us!
Whether you are a gardener or farmer, you can help create a local grain revival in the Mountain West. Sign up to trial rare and heritage grain varieties.
RMSA’s Seed Stewards program engages grassroots leaders in their communities as seed mentors and "keystone" seed savers. You’ll receive technical support and perks for signing up in exchange for your commitment to stewarding unique seed varieties and serving as a local seed saving resource. Help keep these ancient traditions and seeds alive and thriving!
The Rocky Mountain Seed Alliance is a regionally focused and community-driven organization. Your support makes this work possible. By becoming a RMSA Supporting Member, you are helping create healthy, regenerative regional food systems rooted in locally adapted seeds. Thank you for leading this vital and visionary movement!

Stay Connected with RMSAheart_of_idaho

For questions regarding seed saving and current seed news, contact Bill McDorman:

For questions about seed vaulting or seed libraries, contact John Caccia:

For general inquiries, contact Belle Starr:

For questions about the Seed Stewards program contact Lee-Ann Hill:

928-300-7989 |

Stay up to date with current seed news by checking in regularly with the RMSA Facebook page.
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Rocky Mountain Seed Alliance
PO BOX 405
Mancos, CO 81328
United States

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