Germinating genius: Hudson Valley Seed Library hosts SeedBroadcast this Monday

Doug Muller and Ken Greene (photo by Rich Pomerantz)

It was about eight years ago when partners Ken Greene and Doug Muller went to seed. Greene had been the children’s librarian at the Gardiner Public Library, where he discovered a passion for identifying, preserving and fostering responsibly sourced regional seeds in response to the exponential growth of industrial seed sources like Monsanto. “That’s when I became a seed-saver,” said Greene. “I just had one of those moments: ‘I’m going to quit my job here and I’m going to become a farmer and learn how to grow seeds.’”

Before long, the Hudson Valley Seed Library began to grow. This year, they expect to offer 60 varieties of organically produced seeds on their Accord farm, and offer an additional 140 varieties of seed from contracted vendors to home gardeners and farmers.

Their property, on Mettacahonts Road, was an old Catskills resort, and later a Ukrainian camp. It’s now a fully functional farm, library and seed-selling company, using organic practices to bring their crops to fruition. They are currently seeking Northeast Organic Farming Association (NOFA) certification.

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Members, who do everything from contributing saved seeds to the Library to packing new seeds for sale, are offered annual access to the farm for workshops and an annual tour. This summer, the farm opens up to the general public through a series of “Seedy Summer Events.” “I think, opening it up for these events, people will really get the opportunity to understand where seeds come from and how seeds are grown,” said Greene. “There’s nothing like being somewhere in person, being with the plants, interacting with the plants and getting your hands dirty.”

People frequently contact the farmers to ask if they can come and see the seeds – which isn’t always a possibility. “A lot of people, when they think of farms, they think of agritourism. The farm, it’s my home, it’s a very intimate place for me, and we’re trying to make it a bit more planned so people can see, because I think there’s a value to that.”

The Seed Library’s first public event will be held on July 16: an early evening with SeedBroadcast Mobile Seed Story Broadcasting Station. The hosts of SeedBroadcast, who travel to local seed libraries all over the country interviewing farmers, gardeners and locavores, will be on the farm for a public Seed Story broadcast event. The free session will include a seed-farm tour and sneak peek at the new demonstration garden.

Another free event follows on July 28: a Fall Seedling Sale and Season Extension Demonstrations. Home gardeners are welcome to come learn about easy ways to extend your harvest. Choose seedlings for fall and winter harvest plantings, and pick up the materials that you need to make them grow. There will be demonstrations and a tour.

Additional events in August and September include a Farmers’ Field Day for the NOFA-certified crowd, a home gardening workshop and “Seeds and Salsa,” a fun, filling educational workshop. September 22 will be the big annual Seed Meet-and-Greet Farm Tour. Now all may come get a seed’s-eye view of the Seed Library Farm: Try your hand at winnowing and threshing harvested seeds, and join in the seed swap. Members can return their saved seeds for credits toward next year’s membership. This event is free for 2012 Seed Library members, $5 for the general public.

The Seed Library is located at 484 Mettacahonts Road in Accord. SeedBroadcast will visit the Seed Library on July 16 from 5 to 7 p.m. The Fall Seedling Sale and Season Extension Demonstrations will be held on July 28 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Some events require registration; RSVP to the Facebook event on www.facebook.com/seedlibrary, call (845) 204-8769 or e-mail mail@seedlibrary.org. For more information and a complete list of events, visit www.seedlibrary.org.

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