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Seedy Talks

Mehmet Oztan, service assistant professor of geography, and Jonathan Hall, assistant professor of geography, will collaboratively host the second Seedy Talks, a speaker series of the Morgantown Seed Preservation Library, on Monday, Oct. 7, from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. in 325 Brooks Hall.

The event will begin with a discussion around food among the audience and continue with the screening of the short documentary, “Seeds of Hope.” The documentary tells the story of the St. Regis Mohawk Tribe at Akwesasne, the Hudson Valley Farm Hub and Seedshed as they honor Native American seeds that are at risk of disappearing through planting and harvesting them. The Hudson Valley Farm Hub and Seedshed are both nonprofit organizations that work on projects related to building resilient agricultural communities and engaging communities for seed sovereignty and biological diversity.

Following the movie, the keynote speaker will be Ken Greene. Greene will unpack a timeline of seed heritage from pre-history through indigenous seed keepers up to biotech and pharmaceutical domination of seed resources. Through looking at and digging deeper into the elegant, humorous, personal and telling images from antique seed catalogs and contemporary seed pack art that Greene will talk about, the audience will have the opportunity to learn about a diversity of seed stories and how seeds connect us to food, butterflies, science, geography, history, soil, our ancestors and each other. Discover the history of seed diversity and the modern importance of ethical seed stewardship.

This event is presented with support from the West Virginia Humanities Council, a state affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities. Any views, findings, conclusions or recommendations do not necessarily represent those of the West Virginia Humanities Council or the National Endowment for the Humanities.

About the Speaker

Ken Greene

Ken Greene is the founder of the first seed library in the United States, a project he germinated in Gardiner, New York. Greene and his partner, Doug Muller, grew the library into the Hudson Valley Seed Co., a national seed company and regional seed farm devoted to ethically producing seed for home gardeners and farmers and celebrating seeds through art. Greene is also the founding director of Seedshed, a nonprofit organization focused on growing regional and cultural seed communities through seed literacy and seed justice programs.

Greene’s efforts have been profiled in a range of publications including New Yorker Magazine, Washington Post, Martha Stewart Living, Vogue, New York Times, Heirloom Gardener Magazine and NPR. He has given presentations for diverse groups including the Northeast Organic Farming Association, Culinary Institute of America, Seed Savers Exchange, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Omega Institute, many Garden Clubs of America and the National Heirloom Expo. In 2019, the Hudson Valley Seed Co was awarded the Garden Club of America Horticulture Commendation.

About the Morgantown Seed Preservation Library

Morgantown Seed Preservation Library was founded in April 2019 by WVU Service Assistant Professor of Geography Mehmet Oztan. It is housed in the Morgantown Public Library, and in fall 2019, it will begin offering the heirloom seeds of West Virginia and the Appalachian Region as well as the seeds of other cultures and regions to the Morgantown Community and the greater Morgantown area to accomplish its mission of preserving the regional and intercultural agrobiodiversity and culinary and farming traditions. Patrons will check out seeds in a similar fashion that they check out books.