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eNewsletter for Aug 4, 2016

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An Historic Gathering for Seed Libraries

sselibrariesHave you ever experienced a moment that you knew would go down in history? That was the feeling we had at the Seed Savers Exchange Annual Conference and Campout. A dozen of us from around the country and Canada gathered there to discuss passing the Seed Library Association baton to Seed Savers Exchange and USC Canada for formalizing and support.
Up until now, Rebecca Newburn from the Richmond Grows seed library in northern California has been spearheading this grassroots association through two websites ( and, a newsletter (Cool Beans), and many conversations with start-up seed libraries.
seedpeepsWith SSE and USC Canada’s support, the seed library movement will ascend to the next level of organization and outreach. RMSA was proud to be involved in this group discussion, exploring ways to keep this association in the commons while developing new tools and best practices. We will be sure to share updates on this exciting development!
Top photo: Seed librarians frolic in SSE's gardens. Bottom photo (left to right): Rebecca Newburn (Richmond Grows Seed Lending Library), Kelly Wilson (Pima County Library Seed Libraries), Joseph Simcox (international seed explorer), and Neil Thapar (Sustainable Economies Law Center). 

More Good (Legal) News for Seed Libraries
seedlibIt's official! The American Association of Seed Control Officials and the American Seed Trade Association are recommending that seed libraries be exempt from the laws of seed businesses as regulated by state agricultural departments.
The RUSSL (Recommended Uniform State Seed Law) amendment is a groundbreaking document that allows seed libraries to continue operating in the commons without penalty. This means no fees, no germination testing, and no expiration dates. As the name implies, the RUSSL amendment is a recommendation and must be approved legislatively state by state.
For more information and to see the status of your state, contact Sustainable Economies Law Center (SELC). Congrats to everyone on the Seed Libraries working committee for their tireless efforts to get this passed, especially Neil Thapar at SELC!
Hats Off to Seed Savers Exchange

grainOur movement is full of noteworthy human beings constantly working toward seed justice and keeping seeds in the commons. The Seed Savers Exchange 36th Annual Conference and Campout had quite a few of them in attendance!

We were thrilled to connect with some true seed visionaries: Joseph Simcox, the “Indiana Jones of seed saving”; Glenn Roberts from Anson Mills, who has been responsible for launching many grain projects including the expansion of Sonora White wheat in Southern Arizona; authors Carol Deppe and Jack Kloppenburg, whose central focus these days is OSSI (Open Source Seed Initiative); Ira Wallace from Southern Exposure Seed Exchange; and Rowen White from Sierra Seeds Cooperative and the new Seed Savers Exchange Board Chair.

billsseA highlight for us was when Carol Deppe unveiled new seed songs exclaiming it was time to resurrect those old protest anthems from the 60s on behalf of seed sovereignty! RMSA’s Bill McDorman also delivered two powerful presentations, including sharing his “Stories from Siberia,” when he brought back over 60 varieties of tomatoes from behind the Iron Curtain in 1989.

This was our first venture to Decorah for this famous event, and we can’t say enough wonderful things about it. Special thanks to John, Toby, Jeanine, Jim. Heidi and everyone else for rolling out the red carpet on our behalf. Make sure this awesome gathering is on your 2017 calendar—especially if you are a seed librarian. We’ll keep you posted!


Let Them Eat... Pie!

ssiad(And we did—lots of it!)
Tessah Wickus (Seed School Teacher Training graduate and facilitator of nine seed libraries in the Bayfield, Wisconsin area, as well as board member of the Alliance for Sustainability) invited RMSA to present at the 20th annual Pie and Politics event. No one told us we were headed to Lake Superior!
RMSA also presented a Seed School in a Day workshop and hosted a special screening of SEED: The Untold Story. What a gorgeous region and fantastic people committed to sustainable living (check out their exciting Audacity 2040 initiative). Deep thanks to all who made us feel welcome (Christine, Teena, Ted, Don, and Bill & Gayle). We can’t wait to come back!
Photo: Group shot of Seed School in a Day students in Ashland, WI.

Seeding Community Gardens

dugWe love our community gardens. They do so much for us in so many ways—creating a hub of knowledge, giving us resources for our growing efforts, and providing a place for us to get to know our (garden plot) neighbors.
With the increasing number of community gardens blossoming everywhere, RMSA is committed to adding in the seed component wherever we can. So where do the seeds for our community gardens come from? Usually from faraway places with no connection to our local bioregions. We can change that!
Thanks to Denver Urban Gardens and DeLaney Community Farm for joining the throngs of growers everywhere who recognize the value of locally adapted, regionally diverse seeds. These trendsetting community gardens are “walking the talk” of growing local food with local seeds!

Seed School in a Day – Aurora, CO

dugRMSA is partnering with Denver Urban Gardens and Friends of ENCA Farm to bring you a powerful, one-day immersion into the essentials of seed saving. Learn breeding basics, seed saving techniques and storage, and more in this informative workshop for participants of all skill levels.

Saturday, August 20, 2016

10 a.m. – 6:30 p.m.
DeLaney Community Farm, Aurora, CO
Click here to register.

Class tuition: $60 – Includes lunch. Scholarships available. Email for more information.


Seed Saving with Altitude

mtnssImagine being in one of the most pristine areas in the country with fellow seed lovers—immersed in seed literacy, hands-on practices, and seed culture—and topped off with a healthy dose of native plant exploration and wild seed collecting.
And did we mention mouth-watering meals where they measure the distance of transported food in feet rather than miles?
Sounds amazing, right? Then join us at Mountain Seed School for this "peak" seed experience!
Mountain Seed School
Westcliffe, CO
September 11 – 16, 2016
$650 Early Bird Tution – extended to August 8th
$750 Regular Tuition
$75 camping for the week (first come, first served)

Growing our Seed Stewards

seedsaveHave you signed up yet to become an RMSA Seed Steward? This program is at the foundation of our efforts to build resilient seed hubs in the Mountain West. Click here to register for free. 
We are growing this program and its impact. As a Seed Steward, you are our ears, eyes, and hands on the ground when it comes to your local seed resources and needs. We are looking for ways to strengthen your community seed efforts—whether you're a seed grower, seed saver, gardener, farmer, or just a passionate advocate.
Join today and help us build this network. We would love to hear from you!

"Seed" Funding for your Projects

greenhouseWhat would it take for you to create a strong seed system in your community? Do you have some incredible projects in mind that are only lacking funding to become a reality?
RMSA is exploring ways to "re-grant" funds we've raised through foundation grants to help launch local seed projects. Please send your ideas and needs to:

Save the Dates

We've got a busy schedule with many exciting opportunities for you coming up. Mark your calendar!
More information on the Mountain West Seed Summit is coming soon. This will be a conference and gathering for regional seed savers and advocates focused on developing bioregional seed hubs and honoring our seed traditions.

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 4736
Ketchum, ID 83340
United States

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