SCCC Hosts “Woodstock” For Seed Savers

The fifth annual Long Island Regional Seed Consortium Seed Swap will be held on Sunday, March 10 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., sponsored by Suffolk County Community College’s Eastern Campus Office of Student Activities. This is the largest Seed Swap on Long Island, attracting several hundred people, and has been billed by some as the “Woodstock” for seed savers, gardeners and local farmers. 

The program teaches gardeners the best ways to collect seeds, and offers an opportunity to swap seeds with all attendees. The event takes place at SCCC’s Eastern Campus at 121 Speonk-Riverhead Road in Riverhead.

In the last few decades, thousands of varieties of garden vegetables, grains and flowers have been lost. Seed swaps and exchanges like this celebrate the seed keepers and the gardeners who help to prevent this kind of loss.

Between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. there will be an ongoing farmers market, featuring locally produced seeds, plants and other seasonal products, and a display area for environmental non-profit organizations. A panel discussion on why and how we save seeds will be held from 11 a.m. to noon in the campus auditorium, followed by the swap meet from noon to 2 p.m. in the Peconic Building Cafeteria.

Gardeners are invited to bring packets of seed or leftover seed to share and swap at the general swapping tables. There will be a special area set aside for more experienced seed savers who collect seed from their garden heirlooms and rare varieties to share. This area is typically a noisy venue where containers of seed are divided up into small packets and cultural information and seed histories are discussed.

Special guests include:

• Eli Rogosa, author of “Restoring Heritage Grains.” Eli will exhibit her collection of ancient wheats and be available to sign books. Eli has traveled to former Soviet Georgia and the Mid East to work with peasant farmers and record their techniques of growing wheat and baking bread and collect near-extinct wheat seed varieties that are now sought by artisan bakers because of their unique properties.

• Scott Chaskey, a poet, farmer and educator in Amagansett and author of “Seedtime” and “This Common Ground: Seasons on an Organic Farm.” Scott will be exhibiting seeds and signing his books.

Master Gardeners will be on hand to answer questions on how to save seeds, how to start plants from seeds and other general gardening questions.

Admission to the Seed Swap is free, although organizers encourage you to bring one or more full or partly full seed packets for the general swapping tables.

Beth Young

Beth Young has been covering the East End since the 1990s. In her spare time, she runs around the block, tinkers with bicycles, tries not to drown in the Peconic Bay and hopes to grow the perfect tomato. You can send her a message at editor@eastendbeacon.com

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