More About Seed School Online

Dear Future Seed Steward,

A global renaissance is underway, and you can be a part of it! Now, more than ever we need to take control of our food and seeds. This is essential for our health and the resilience of our communities.

Imagine taking the best of this year’s garden into the next by simply selecting the seeds from plants that work for you. Taste, insect and disease resistance, drought tolerance—the sky’s the limit when choosing seeds from plants that performed outrageously well in your garden: maybe in places you never expected they would.

Seed from a worm-resistant corn plant. Large-leaved, delicious cilantro. The only tomato that survived that unexpected frost in July. These are examples of the kinds of things we look for. Become your own best teacher and explorer to discover and save seeds from the varieties that capture your imagination and inspire you.

Seed School Online is a response to ongoing emails and calls from students everywhere wanting to learn about this important tradition. We get requests weekly to bring Seed School to communities all over the world. Now we can! 

This innovative program translates the best of RMSA's Seed School curriculum into an engaging online learning format. Launched in September of 2010, Seed School has graduated more than 1,000 students from around the world. RMSA Executive Director Bill McDorman will be your primary instructor in this exciting journey. Bill has over 30 years of experience in operating seed businesses and teaching people to become seed savers themselves. He created Seed School to offer an educational opportunity that wasn't available when he started out.

Seed School Online coalesces a lifetime of resources and support to launch seed savers of all experience levels into their next stage of the seed journey. You will meet others, hear their stories and find out how they took their seed knowledge to the next level by starting small seed companies, seed libraries or exchanges. Technical guidance and hands-on activities will have you scurrying to your garden where the knowledge gained will be put to use. And of course you will be completing a very important cycle. Adding seed saving into your activities brings you full circle in connecting with a crucial part of the growing process. What could be more satisfying?

Over the seven weeks we have together we will dive deeply into some inspiring topics. Have no fear. Even genetics will be unpacked in a way you might just understand. Ready to join this exploding evolution? We look forward to guiding you through this life-changing experience.

Bill and Belle


Where Are We?

In order to understand why seeds are so important, we need to review the global circumstances surrounding seeds, where we have been historically, where we are today and where we hope to be in the future. Once we create a context to the seed movement and the patenting of these tiny gems of life, you will start to understand the issues we are encountering in farming, our food system and in countries around the world. This information can be liberating. At the same time this new awareness can be shocking. Have no fear! The spirit, magic and power of the seeds themselves will save us. We will spend a good chunk of time anchoring into the power, the art, the science and craft of seed saving. You will feel empowered as you start to understand your place in the process.

So Now What?

Now that we know what we know, what is next? We’ll uncover the hierarchy of the modern seed industry. Do the seed companies we buy from actually grow their own seeds? How do I find the best local company that can start me on my seed saving adventure with good open-pollinated seed stock? As you are learning the structure of modern seed enterprises, you will also get a primer on basic seed terms and how to navigate around choices that will work for you. This will include a recap of high school biology by way of Mendel’s Genetics. No seed steward will be left behind! There will be plenty of time for Q&A. After we learn how colors, characteristics and traits happen genetically, we will show you how to select your own seeds and evaluate them for the things you want to encourage. How exciting!

The Details

The practical aspects of seed saving will be covered by focusing on pollination, breeding, harvesting, storage and germination. We really love our pollinators. You will become one. The idea is to get your mind down into the stigmas, styles and anthers of this fun and food producing activity. You will join the ranks of beneficial insects, wind and hitch-hiking seeds. Spacing and hedge row ideas, q-tips and small paint brushes will all end up in your new tool box. Let’s say you prefer to spend your time hiking in the wilderness, yet still want to join the seed saving tradition. One of the most satisfying parts of seed saving can be harvesting seeds from wild plants. We’ll cover the rules, give you some specific tips on which plants to find, and show you how to time travel to both identify and collect seeds on the same outing!


Home seed saver, small bioregional seed company, seed library organizer, seed educator, what’s it going to be? How will you share your seeds and what you learn? What is your responsibility? How do we become good seed citizens? Stories from other successful seed stewards will help provide the inspiration and structure for you to take your next steps. Resources, handouts and links will allow you to choose the right path and continue on the path to success. You will be able to move your seed wisdom and expertise into your backyard, your community and the world.

Click here to read more about our Seed School program that this online course is based on.

Click here to learn more about or register for our Seed School Online class.

Who We Are

We are a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization dedicated to strengthening seed and food security in our region.

Our mission is to assure a diverse and abundant supply of seeds for the Rocky Mountain West through networking, education and helping establish community-based models of seed stewardship.



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  belle (@)
  PO Box 4736 • Ketchum, ID 83340