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Morgantown Seed Preservation Library Launch

Mehmet Oztan, a service assistant professor of geography, has created the Morgantown Seed Preservation Library in conjunction with the Morgantown Public Library, WVU Libraries and WVU Food Justice LabThe seed library will offer the heirloom seeds of Appalachia to the greater Morgantown community as part of its mission to preserve regional agrobiodiversity, culinary and farming traditions. In the coming years, Morgantown Public Library patrons will be able to check out seeds in the same way they check out books, movies, music and other resources. 

Opening Ceremony and Panel Discussion

Friday, April 12
1:30 - 3 p.m. 
Milano Reading Room, Downtown Campus Library

Barbara Hengemihle
Associate University Librarian, WVU Libraries

Sarah Cranstoun Palfrey
Director, Morgantown Public Library

Assistant Professor of Geography, WVU Department of Geology and Geography

Joshua Lohnes
Food Policy Director, WVU Food Justice Lab

Mike Costello
Chef, Farmer and Co-Owner, Lost Creek Farm 

Mehmet Oztan
Service Assistant Professor of Geography, WVU Department of Geology and Geography

Seed Swap

Friday, April 12
3:30 p.m. - 5 p.m. 
Morgantown Public Library

Ira Wallace
Seed Steward and Advocate

Mike Costello
Chef, Farmer and Co-Owner, Lost Creek Farm 

Lewis Jett
Commercial Horticulture Specialist, WVU Extension Service

Keynote Speech

Friday, April 12
6 p.m. 
Morgantown Public Library

Ira Wallace
Seed Saver and Educator

In this talk, Wallace will share her knowledge about seed sovereignty and justice issues. She will take the audience to a journey of seed stories. 

Wallace's keynote is the first talk in the series, "Seedy Talks." The series is an educational and community-oriented speaker series organized by WVU Assistant Service Professor of Geography Mehmet Oztan in collaboration with the Morgantown Public Library as part of the new Morgantown Seed Preservation Library. Topics covered include seed sovereignty, seed justice, seed documentation, and culinary, historical and cultural significance of heirloom seeds.

About the Speaker
Wallace was raised in Tampa, Florida, by her grandmother Estella Brown, growing up with an abundant homestead garden. She graduated from New College in Sarasota, Florida. She left Florida after college to travel around the world throughout the 1960s and 1970s, living on Kibbutz, a community settlement in Israel, and farming in Denmark and Canada. 

In 1984, she returned to the U.S., and settled in the Twin Oaks Community of Louisa, Virginia. In 1993, she helped to found the Acorn Community, a 75-acre egalitarian farm in Louisa, Virginia, which is identified by Wallace as an “experiment for economic justice.” In 1999, Wallace and other members of the Acorn Community took over the stewardship of Southern Exposure Seed Exchange, a small heirloom seed company that has been cooperatively managed since then, and that specializes in southeastern heirloom seeds while commercially offering more than 700 seed varieties to home gardeners and small farmers.

Wallace has served on the boards of the Organic Seed Alliance, Open Source Seed Initiative and Virginia Association for Biological Farming, and she is an organizer of the Heritage Harvest Festival at Monticello, Virginia. She was one of the nine contributors to the Southern SARE-sponsored Saving Our Seeds Project that aimed to promote sustainable, ecological, organic vegetable seed production in the mid-Atlantic and South. She was one of the major collaborators in the Heirloom Collard Project that focused on historical documentation and preservation of the collard varieties grown since pre-civil war era in the southern U.S.

Wallace was the mid-Atlantic regional correspondent for the Mother Earth News gardening almanac in the 1990s and is the author of the "Timber Press Guide to Vegetable Gardening in the Southeast." She is the 2016 recipient of the Craig Claiborne Lifetime Achievement Award, 2019 recipient of the Organic Growers School’s Organic Educator Award and 2019 recipient of the American Horticultural Society’s Paul Ecke Jr. Commercial Award.

Wallace travels around the U.S. to tell seed stories and to teach communities about seed saving, seeds’ connection with economic and food justice as well as about southern culinary and farming traditions. She is one of the most prominent and inspirational seed advocates of our time.