Events News

August 16, 2016 at 4:26 pm

Food Studies Collaborates with CFI for Seed-Saving Workshop

Kale seed pods in a hand

Kale seed pods

Dr. Art Trese, Associate Professor of Environmental & Plant Biology, collaborated with the Athens non-profit Community Food Initiatives on a seed-saving workshop at the 5th Annual Real Food Real Local Conference in the Eclipse Company Town this summer.

Trese describes his informational session as having covered the “challenges of using hybrids in locally adapted varieties” of seeds. He gave a basic overview of how hybrids differ from heirloom seeds in that hybrids are the result of human-facilitated cross-pollination of two different varieties of a plant in order to produce a combination of the best traits of each parent-variety. Heirloom seeds, on the other hand, are varieties of plants that are usually over 50 years old and are open-pollinated, which means that there is no human intervention.

Dr. Art Trese facilitates conversation about seed saving

Dr. Art Trese facilitates conversation about seed saving

Mary Nally and Jessica Chadwell of Community Foods Initiatives, along with many community partners and contributors, recently started Ridge and Hollow Seed Co. with the intention of preserving heirloom seeds from the Southeastern Ohio region to increase food security for future generations.

Following the informational portion, Erik Peterson of CFI led an experiential workshop detailing how to clean and save seeds time-efficiently. This included a home-made cleaning device that paired a wooden maze with a shop-vacuum cleaner.

Erik Peterson demonstrates seed cleaning with machine he designed using vacuum cleaner

Erik Peterson demonstrates seed cleaning with machine he designed using vacuum cleaner

At the end of the interactive presentation, there was a round-table conversation welcoming everyone to share their own experiences with the importance of saving seed and issues they have confronted. Attendees ranged from experienced seed savers, to novice savers and Ohio University faculty.

Food studies theme logoSugarBush grant money awarded to Food Studies faculty Dr. Theresa Moran, Assistant Professor and Food Studies Director, and Dr. Paul Patton, Assistant Professor of Anthropology, has assisted CFI in the delivery of workshops and seed saving exchange. In addition, the College of Arts & Sciences is supporting Food Studies interns to develop workshop materials to help in CFI’s seed saving work in a powerful collaboration between Ohio University and the Athens community.

The Appalachian Center for Economic Networking (ACEnet), and other community partners hosted the conference. Each year it seeks to bring together food retailers, educators, policy-makers, farmers and many others for a series of talks, tours and workshops to demonstrate the impact of local/regional foods and how to incorporate them more effectively as a mainstay of Ohio communities.

*All photos taken by Caitie Sheban of Rural Action.

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