'Seed, Squash and Song'

4th Annual Restoring Our Seed Conference at Bramble Hill Farm, Oct 29-30, 2005

Our fourth season of seed-saving and creative breeding has generated a sense of community that is supportive to the full spectrum - from beginning seed-savers to brilliant farmer-breeders. Although we are surrounded by increasing threats to our seed system, farmers and gardeners throughout New England are working together to create a vibrant New England seed community, now offering ten genepool lines of delicious, locally-adapted vegetables, with countless heirlooms shared at our seed exchange. See 'vintage vegetables' to obtain our seed.

'Seed saving is integrated into our production to increase profitability, for food and habitat for beneficial insects, cost effectiveness (home-grown seed is cheaper), the potential to breed new crops with hybrid vigor, regional adaptation of varieties, more vigorous seed, self -reliance in our means of production, and securing varieties that have become unavailable due to the fact they have been drop from the seed trade.' B. O'Hara

 Cleaning Seed With Will Bonsall


Delicious Potluck Lunch and Squash Tasting


Singing Harvest Rounds with the Adamah Folks


Annual Seed Exchange of heirloom traditions and 'vintage vegetables'- selective saving of the seed of the finest plants of the season's harvest.


Bryan Connolly displayed sixty-five rare heirloom squashes to discover and taste. We are thrilled to announce that Bryan is establishing a 'Seed Conservancy' to restore populations of rare northeast-adapted vegetables, and develop new delicious, disease-resistant lines. A focus this year is restoring heirloom squash.


Fascinating workshops with Bryan O'Hara, Jeremy Barker-Plotkin and seed-savers New England-wide.

Bryan reported that his winter-hardy brassica are not infested by flea beetles in the spring, although spring-planted greens in adjacent beds are innundated! He notices that the beneficial insects that feed on the vegetable flower nectar are the predators of that vegetables' insect pests.


Dr. Mark Hutton, Maine Cooperative Extension, admires Bryan's amazing squash collection. Mark presented workshops on crop improvement and cucurbits.

 Jeremy in his field of winter-hardy greens - breeding projects. Jeremy taught us how he selects seed crops.


Last year Dr. Raoul Robinson taught us how to breed potatos for durable resistance. We crossed Cornell's Prince Hairy (prickly leaves that repel insects but mediocure flavor) with richly flavored landrace potatoes: Blossom (the maternal plant), Caribe, Island Sunshine, Green Mountain and Purple Peruvian. Will we find a succulant tasting potato with prickly leaves in this harvest?


Oct 29th - Saturday

9:00 Why Save Seed? Will Bonsall, Seed Savers Exchange

9:30 Hands-on Seed Cleaning - Nathan Coryumb and Will Bonsall

10:30 Basic Seed Saving - Will Bonsall

Advanced Seed-Saving - Dr. Mark Hutton, New England's Seed and Crop Extension Expert


1:00 On-Farm Cucurbit Breeding - Dr. Mark Hutton

2:00 Farmer Circle (10 minutes each):

Bryan Connolly - Squash

Jeremy Barker-Plotkin - Breeding Healthy Tomatoes

Dr. John Sokoloski - Breeding for Nutrition

Suzanne Webber - Garden Seed-Saving

Nina Bloom Keller and more

3:30 BREAK

3:45 Seed Exchange


7:00 Film: thefutureoffood.com

8:30 Storytelling with Will Bonsall


Oct 30th - Sunday

(By 9:00 Bring your squash to the farm kitchen to be baked)

10:00 Singing with Will Bonsall

10:15 Bryan O'Hara: a master organic farmer and seed grower

11:00 Discovering Heirloom Squash with Cr Lawn and Bryan Connolly

(display and tasting of about 65heirloom squash)

1:00 Crop Improvement - Dr. William Tracy

1:00 Discovering Plant Families and Seed Cleaning with Kids

2:00 Sharing Practical Tips for Seed-Saving

2:00 Teachers and Kids Circle - School Seed Projects

3:30 Closing Circle