Seed School Details

People everywhere are waking up to the vital importance of seeds for our future.

With the unsustainable practices of industrial farming on the rise and our precious crop diversity disappearing, a new paradigm of seed growing, saving, and sharing is necessary. We believe the best hope for an ecologically sustainable agriculture is to build a broad network of regional seed systems brimming with abundance and diversity. To answer this need, we created Seed School. Real, meaningful change in our food system begins here!

What Is Seed School?

Seed School is a groundbreaking, six-day educational course that trains people from all walks of life to build local seed systems rooted in the ancient tradition of seed saving. Practiced by farmers and gardeners for thousands of years, seed saving strengthens food security at the community level, empowering people to reclaim control over their food supply. More than 1,000 people have graduated from Seed School since it launched in 2010. Students walk away from this innovative learning experience with the knowledge and inspiration to start their own independent seed initiatives, such as community seed libraries and exchanges, seed growers cooperatives, heirloom seed businesses, and participatory plant breeding projects.

Seed School is designed to offer a comprehensive yet accessible overview of the science, business, and craft of seeds. Appropriate for teens and adults at all skill levels, this course is for gardeners, farmers, chefs, entrepreneurs, NGOs, activists, policymakers and anyone interested in turning the tide on the industrialization of our food system.

Interest in Seed School is growing rapidly. To meet the demand and help further the local seed movement far and wide, we have taken the course on the road with a series of National Seed School sessions. If you would like to bring Seed School to your community, send an email to Belle Starr (belle@rockymountainseeds.org) to discuss potential collaborations.


Why Is Seed School Important?

When our ancestral gardeners needed seed, there were no glossy catalogs to leaf through. They acquired their replanting stock through the time-honored practice of seed saving, a tradition dating back some 10,000 years. But today most farmers and gardeners purchase their seed from “Big Box” chains and corporate seed companies. This dramatic shift has taken its toll. Over the past century, we’ve lost an alarming amount of biodiversity among our food crops and become dependent on an industrialized agricultural system that puts profits above all else. Seed School encourages a return to the ancient art of seed saving to reconnect people from all walks of life with seeds—the source of all sustenance.

We envision a vast network of thousands of small, bioregional seed companies and community-owned seed collections replacing the disempowering and ecologically destructive industrial system. By taking ownership over our seeds once again and rejoining the ritual of seed saving, we are replenishing our dwindling seed diversity, building up beneficial crop adaptations, and strengthening food security where we live. This is the way to true sustainability—and to healthier, better-tasting food!


What You Will Learn

This first-of-its-kind course teaches the practical, detailed information necessary to recreate the genetic foundation for a truly sustainable agriculture. Classroom time is balanced with hands-on activities, group work, and consulting time with our expert instructors.

  • Structure and History of the Seed Industry
  • The Magic of Seeds
  • Intro to Mendel’s Genetics
  • Selection and Evaluation
  • Pollination
  • Breeding
  • Harvesting
  • Germination
  • Wild Seed – Production, Collection, Cleaning
  • Seed Exchanges, Libraries, Businesses

Cultural Considerations at RMSA Seed Schools

Seeds represent the accumulated knowledge of countless generations of farmers and gardeners from traditional cultures around the world. Our Seed Schools encourage a deeper contemplation of the heritage and lineage of the seeds we steward by honoring traditional seed keepers and the indigenous origins of our seed diversity. RMSA recognizes the destructive impacts that centuries of colonization has had on indigenous peoples and communities of color, as well as the continued oppressions these groups face through discriminatory social, cultural, and economic systems. As seeds are such a critical factor in these issues, we strive to present our training and curriculum with this understanding in mind.

Our intention is to make each Seed School a safe and inclusive space for all participants, regardless of identity across race, ethnicity, gender, class, or sexual orientation. Discrimination, harrassment, or threats of any type will not be tolerated. Guidelines will be set at the start of each Seed School in a collaborative process that ensures all voices are heard.

We ask that all participants adhere to a policy of mutual respect, civility, and compassionate communication. Please be advised that our facilitators will sensitively address any concerns or issues that may arise, but we are not able to deviate from the set curriculum or schedule. Space will be provided for feedback during the course. Thank you for making our Seed Schools a rich, diverse educational experience where all are welcome!