7th Annual Burlington Seed Swap: March 11

This free event celebrates the upcoming gardening season and brings gardeners together to share seeds, garden stories, and resources. The swap is at Fletcher Free Library in Burlington in conjunction with the Exploring Human Origins exhibit.

The 7th annual Burlington Seed Swap is presented by Vermont Community Garden Network in partnership with the Fletcher Free Library, Burlington Parks Recreation & Waterfront, Green Mountain Compost, Slow Food Vermont, and Red Wagon Plants. Donations appreciated to benefit the Community Teaching Garden scholarship fund. For more information, call 861-4769. Join the Facebook event page for updated news about this fun community event.

WHAT TO BRING:

Your own saved seeds, extra purchased seeds, seeds brought back from another region or country. Please label with variety and date harvested. (No GMO seeds please.) If you don’t have seeds to share, consider bringing another garden-related item to swap (a garden book, extra tools, garden preserves, a snack). Donations are also welcome for the Community Teaching Garden scholarship fund.

HOW IT WORKS:

All the seeds will be sorted into categories on tables. Participants add their seeds and select the seeds they want, putting them into provided envelopes. There will be a separate area for saved and special seeds (heirlooms, small quantities, unusual varieties, etc.) so that participants can talk to each other about the seed origins. There will also be extra seeds donated by High Mowing Seeds and Gardener’s Supply, so everyone will have seeds to bring home.

WORKSHOPS:

11:30am: Be a Gardening Superstar and Learn to Save Seeds Like a Pro with Mara Welton

This workshop will cover hands-on techniques for saving seeds from beans, garlic, tomatoes, peppers, melons, cucumbers, eggplant and more! We will discuss the importance of heirloom and open-pollinated seeds, how to be prepared for seed saving all summer long and how to best store your precious saved seeds. You will leave this workshop armed with knowledge, confidence, handouts and materials to remind you how to proceed when your plants are ripe in summer!

Mara Welton co-owns and operates 2.5 acre Half Pint Farm with her husband Spencer in Burlington’s Intervale. Mara farms because she loves good food – and started her specialty veggie farm in 2003 to provide Vermont with locally grown niche produce. Mara loves that farming keeps her grounded, inspired, and eating the best possible food every day! Mara is also the board chair of Slow Food Vermont and brings to that position a passion for food and traditional foodways. Her enthusiasm for the process of seed to plate, exciting and educational event planning. When Mara is not farming, she is: running, experimenting in the kitchen, reading about food, snuggling with her dachshunds, traveling abroad, speaking at conferences, entertaining, and pining for the growing season.

1pm: Indigenous Vermont Agriculture with Fred Wiseman

Fred Wiseman, a retired professor and former department chair of Humanities at Johnson State College, is a paleo-ethnobotanist who has studied the Maya people of Mexico and Central America and the modern ethnobiology of the Sonoran Desert. He has been working with Vermont’s Native American communities for more than three decades. The mission of his Seeds of Renewal project is to assist and encourage the Abenaki tradition of seed saving and indigenous gardening by helping to track down rare or long-lost seeds native to northern New England.

2:30pm: Grow Your Own Food in Small Spaces and Containers with Julie Rubaud

In this workshop, we will discuss ways to maximize pleasure and increase the yield of harvests in small spaces including container gardens, windowsill herbs, and raised beds. From the front stoop to the back deck, there are many ways to grow what you like to eat and to do it in a way that is not too time consuming. Let’s discuss how to significantly add fresh flavor to your table and meals.

Julie Rubaud is owner of Red Wagon Plants in Hinesburg. She has been an organic vegetable and plant grower since 1994. Her approach to gardening is informed by years of winter work in restaurants, a love of good food, and a French heritage that relies heavily on eating and gardening to express itself. She loves nothing more than to help people grow their own food and flowers, and finds that the garden usually holds the lessons for and the answers to life’s problems. She has made a career out of bringing together soil, seeds, plants, sunlight, water, and most importantly, people.