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Slow Seed Summit

A summit for seed growers, savers, advocates and enthusiasts!

The Slow Seed Summit brought together growers, experts and activists to discuss seed sovereignty and preservation and other central topics in the world of seeds. Between Feb 18-28, 2021, we hosted six days of interactive programming that combined Deep Dig sessions on critical topics, small roundtables with hands-on demonstrations, and networking opportunities to meet new friends.

Speakers include Rowen White, Karen Washington, Bill McDorman, Elena Terry, Francesco Sottile, Brijette Peña, Melissa Nelson, Ira Wallace and
many more! You’ll find the recordings of all sessions below!

The goal of the 2021 Seed Summit was to present ideas and facilitate an exchange around issues of seed sovereignty, stewardship, preservation and culture.
We confronted contemporary issues and topics, and explored how to engage in important action around this vital resource and biodiversity.

Watch the Sessions

Re-seeding Imaginations of a Relational Food and Seed Landscape

Opening Keynote with Rowen White

We all descend from people who have intimate stories of connection and relationships to seeds and foods of our ancestors. In the larger Food Sovereignty movement, restoring relationships to culturally significant seeds has been a healing journey for Indigenous Communities as we revitalize our cultural heritage in a modern era. Rowen will share her vision of cultivating a culture of belonging as we envision the future of food and nourishment in our communities.  How do we envision the Indigenous role in the larger Seed and Food Commons and coordinate collaborative efforts to care for our seeds that are in right relationship to our Indigenous cosmology? Come listen to Rowen share her seed stories that tell of hopeful intercultural partnerships that heal and restore our connection to seeds, food, and land to honor the legacy of our ancestors and leave a beautiful gift for future generations.

Seeds Tell the Untold Stories. Time Holds Them to be Discovered

Closing Keynote with Karen Washington

Many people are now rediscovering their history through seeds. In this discovery we will follow the trail laid down by our ancestors as sovereign keepers. It is time for us to come out from the shadows and into the light to celebrate their value and true meaning.  Learn how seeds can unlock secrets of forgotten time and stories.

Seed Sovereignty & the Future of Seeds

Seed Keeping: An Everyday Act of Resistance 

Black and brown people are integral to the story of food and farming in this country. Learn how including them in our storytelling about seeds, the traditions they represent, the taste they evoke, and our tales of people who created great varieties can be an everyday act of resistance.

with Ira Wallace, Southern Exposure Seed Exchange
Moderated by Evan Mallett, Chef & Owner Black Trumpet Restaurant

Seed Rights: A Global Perspective

Patenting. Intellectual property rights. Genetically modified organisms. These forms of seed ownership threaten Earth’s biodiversity as well as the livelihoods, cultures and healthy existence of billions of people across the globe. How can we ensure our right to grow the food and save the seed of our ancestors without threat from those who manipulate and control seeds for profit? In this session we will hear from experts who have been fighting for our seed rights and can inform us as to the important actions we need to take to ensure a future of seeds for all.

Moderator: Sara Aly El Sayed

Global Seed Sovereignty with Francesco Sottile, Agronomist from Palermo University, SF Italy Executive Committee Member
The Fight for Seed Rights in Africa with Anne Maina, National Coordinator of the Kenya Biodiversity Coalition
Keeping seeds in our hands: the rise of seed activism with Karine Peschard, Albert Hirschman Cdntre on Democracy
Open Source Seeds with Jack Kloppenburg from Open Source Seeds Initiative

The Fate and Future of our Seeds

The Fate and Future of our Seeds

GMOs and corporate control with Bill McDorman, Rocky Mountain Seed Alliance
Reframing Ideas of Food Security without GMO’s with Fatuma Emmad, Front Line Farming

Creating Seed Sovereignty Declarations

Creating Declarations of Seed Sovereignty with Clayton Brascoupé and Don Tipping

Seeds & Community

Chefs and Seeds

Seed to Table: Chefs as partners in revitalizing and stewarding cultural cuisine

A delicious meal doesn’t start in the kitchen; it starts in the field with the planting of seeds. In Seeds, Culture and Cuisine, we explore this important connection through stories from farmers, chefs and seed historians. Cultural and agricultural traditions blend to create unique placed-based cuisines. Preserving the seeds that create cuisines is a passionate pursuit, shared by the presenters in this session.

Connecting Communities through Indigenous Cuisine with Elena Terry, Wild Bearies
Ozark Cuisine with Rob Connoley: Bulrush Restaurant
Community to Table: New England Modern-Mexican Cuisine with David Vargas, Vida Cantina Restaurant

Seeds & Schools


Neha Shah, Slow Food School Gardens
Kim Aman, Slow Food School Gardens
Julie Brunson, H.O.P.E. Gardens

Share a Seed

The new Share a Seed initiative from Slow Food USA

with Reana Kovalcik and Jeff Quattrone

Slow Food is asking the gardeners, farmers, and growers out there to help us spread the love and share a seed. Whether you have one extra packet or a whole case, by sharing your spares you can help connect would-be growers across the country with opportunities to grow.

Seed Saving

Preserving Seeds

Seed Preservation: An integral step in stewarding the diversity of cuisine and culture

Second Generation Seeds: Stewarding Seeds of the Asian Diaspora with Kellee Matsushita-Tseng,  UC Santa Cruz Agroecology
Connecting our ancestral foods to the seeds we keep with Daniela Dutra Elliot, University of Hawai’i
Jake and the Beanstalk with Heron Breen, Fedco Seeds

Community Seed Saving

Seed sovereignty starts with saving your own seeds. This day will walk you through how to start your seed sovereignty journey. From how to save seeds, to building a seed community and a seed library, to working with schools to grow your seed community and future seed savers, this day will empower you with knowledge to secure seeds for yourself and your community.


Keith Monihan, Community Seed Network
Bevin Cohen, Small House Farm and Founding Member Michigan Seed Library Network
Jeanine Scheffert, Seed Savers Exchange Education and Engagement Manager
Elphas Masanga, Slow Food Youth Network, Kenya
Melissa de Billot, Slow Food South Africa

Seed Saving Demo

Live Demo with Brijette Peña, San Diego Seed Company

A live demo of the two seed saving processes: wet and dry. Learn about the benefit of saving seeds and their ability to adapt to different regions.

Seed Stories

Seed Stories

Stories about seeds, success, history with moderator Bevin Cohen. Every seed has a story. Sometimes people merge with seeds and their stories in a way that changes them both. Hear from those who are listening to and telling the stories of seeds.

With: Upper Midwest Indigenous Seed Keepers Network with Shiloh Maples, Midwest Indigenous Seed Keepers
The Family Farming Legacy of the Kille #7 Tomato with Jeff Quattrone
Heritage Wheat at Anarchy Acres with Charlie Tennessen, Anarchy Acres
Preservation and Documentation of Turkish Seeds with Mehmet Öztan, Two Seeds in a Pod
The Cultural Conservancy Native Seed Saving with Melissa Nelson, President of The Cultural Conservancy

Plant a SeED

Plant a Seed Stories and the Slow Food Ark of Taste with:

Moderated by Giselle Kennedy Lord, Communications Director, Slow Food USA

Jeff Quattrone on the Ark of Taste and Garden State Tomato
Bevin Cohen on Old Carolina Tomato
Zach Paige on Early Scarlet Horn Carrot
Owen Taylor on King Philip Corn
David Shields on Aunt Molly’s Ground Cherry
Mimi Edelman on Jimmy Nardello

Seeds as Grain

Regional Grain Chains

Most of us think of seeds as a means to an end. We plant seeds so that we can grow fruits, vegetables, herbs, flowers, etc. But many seeds, like beans and grains, also are an end product. They are the food we eat. This session will focus on the movement in the United States to re-localize both the production and human consumption of grains.

Regional Grain Chains Panel Discussion with Jill Brockman-Cummings, June Russell, Harold Wilken, David Shields

Whole Grains in the Home Kitchen

Workshop and Demonstration

with Mona Esposito, The Grain Lady, and Claudia Bouvier, Pastificio Boulder

Grains Changers Panel

A screening of Grain Changers was followed by a conversation with:

Nanna Meyer, Director, The Grain School, University of Colorado in Colorado Springs
Mona Esposito, The Grain Lady
Andy Clark, owner/baker, Moxie Bread Co.
Tristan Noyes, Executive Director, Maine Grain Alliance 
Jeremy Cherfas, Eat this Podcast

Special Thanks to our Partners & Sponsors