The Great American Seed Up is once again setting up shop in Phoenix. After three very successful showings in previous years, the “pop-up” seed market will be returning to the Uptown Farmers Market at North Phoenix Baptist Church. Imagine walking into a room filled with more than 60 varieties of seeds ready to be scooped up and taken home for planting or saving. This is what the Great American Seed Up is all about. When seeds are grown, saved and replanted locally, they accrue amazing benefits—hardier crops, more pest-resistance tastier food, and most importantly—they are better prepared for local climatic conditions.
This year the event will span two days beginning with the signature event “Seed Dating” where you bring a friend for free plus includes a viewing of the thought-provoking documentary, “Seed: the Untold Story”. The movie will begin Friday, Sept. 22, at 6:30 p.m. A Q-and-A session will follow with seed expert Bill McDorman, who is featured in the film. People can also scoop and purchase seeds from 5 to 9 p.m. that night.
On Saturday, Sept. 23, the event is open for seed scooping from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday is education day featuring three classes on seed saving, storage that will take place throughout the day at 11 a.m., 12 and 1 p.m.
“The idea is to give Valley residents an opportunity to learn about seed saving, and then to bring home as many ounces or even pounds of seeds as they like,” says local seed saver and founder of The Urban Farm, Greg Peterson.
The event will feature a seed bazaar overflowing with bulk quantities of popular open-pollinated, non-gmo vegetable, wildflower, flower and herb seed varieties available at deep discounts. This event is a boon for all seed growers and lovers, from professional Community Supported Agriculture farmers to home gardeners. Families, community groups and interested individuals are welcome to shop for seeds and take in seed knowledge firsthand from expert presenters. You will not find better seeds at better prices.
“Our seed scoop sizes and pricing will represent a five to ten fold savings over purchasing seeds in packets. One scoop of basil seeds is $1.25 and represents at least ten packets of purchased seeds. That is a huge savings, plus you get the education along with it,” says Bill McDorman, co-founder of the event.
All varieties for sale will be specially chosen for their ability to thrive in hot, dry desert climates. Many are the same varieties sourced by the top seed companies but available at the “Seed Up” at a quarter of the cost (or more).
On Saturday, workshops and presentations with seed experts will educate and inspire attendees with practical knowledge about the techniques and benefits of seed saving. Scheduled presenters include Bill McDorman (Seedsave.org, Rocky Mountain Seed Alliance), and Kari Spencer (The Micro Farm Project). Discussion topics will include; how to save seeds, planting and starting seeds and how to properly store your new seeds.
Tickets are $7.50 per day and do not include the cost of purchasing seeds. Advance registration is required online at GreatAmericanSeedUp.org. The Great American Seed Up is presented by Seedsave.org in collaboration with Urban Farm University, the Micro Farm Project and Grow Phx.