What we do and Who we are…

About the Great American Seed Up

Imagine walking into a room filled with over 100 varieties of climate appropriate seeds ready to literally be scooped up and taken home for planting or saving. This is exactly what the Great American Seed Up is all about. “The idea is to give valley residents an opportunity to learn about seed saving and then harvest as many ounces of seed they wish to take home,” says Farmer Greg Peterson, Urban Farm Founder and local seed saver. We are partnering with the Uptown Phoenix Farmers Market. The event features a seed bazaar with bulk quantities of popular vegetable seed varieties available for purchase at bulk discounts.
Attendees are encouraged to buy and share the seeds with their neighborhood and community groups to spur local gardening and seed saving efforts. “We’re trying to get seeds in the hands of the people,” says Seed Up co-organizer Bill McDorman of Seedsave.org. “The more seed diversity we have growing in our neighborhood gardens and backyard plots, the more resilient we’ll be as a community. These seeds are the best varieties we can find in bulk to help you start your seed saving adventure.”
Included with pre-registration for the Seed Up will be several online presentations with seed and gardening experts to spread knowledge about traditional and modern seed saving practices. Discussion topics will include: how to save and store seeds, planting and starting seeds, how to properly store your new seeds and how to grow a garden using your new seeds.
Note: Our 2020 in-person Great American Seed Up was postponed.  Please click HERE for our full message.
Still have questions?? Check out these Frequently Asked Questions and see if they can help.
The Great American Seed Up is presented by Seedsave.org, The Urban Farm, The Micro Farm Project, and Rocky Mountain Seed Alliance.

The Team

We are a group of friends who realized we had both the opportunity and know-how to make a difference in the way food security knowledge is being shared. We gathered our skills and put together a project that has started transforming the way people grow food.

Let us introduce ourselves…

Bill McDorman

Co-Founder.
Inspiring Seed Savers Everywhere

Bill is Executive Director of Rocky Mountain Seed Alliance, Ketchum, Idaho. He got his start in the bio-regional seed movement while in college in 1979 when he helped start Garden City Seeds. In 1984, Bill started Seeds Trust/High Altitude Gardens, a mail-order seed company he ran successfully until it sold in 2013.   He authored the book, Basic Seed Saving, in 1994.  In 2010, he and his wife Belle Starr created Seed School, a nationally recognized week-long training. He served as Executive Director of Native Seeds Search from 2011 to 2014.  Bill is a passionate and knowledgeable presenter who inspires his audiences to learn to save their own seeds.

Belle Starr

Co-Founder.
Seed Ambassador
Belle is with Seedsave.org and a co-founder of the Rocky Mountain Seed Alliance, an organization created to assure a diverse and abundant supply of seeds for the Rocky Mountain West. Belle, along with her husband Bill McDorman developed the ground-breaking seed saving program Seed School which has graduated over 600 people from around the world. Starr has an extensive background in publicity and media relations, grant writing, and community organizing. She was a professional broadcaster for almost 30 years.

Kari Spencer

Co-Founder.
She Knows How to Grow… Food
Kari is a popular local gardening & homesteading speaker. As a Master Gardener and a Master Farmer, she enjoys sharing her passion for growing and raising food with others. In addition to teaching classes all over the city of Phoenix, she is the creator of Urban Farm U’s Growing Food the Basics & Backyard Livestock courses. Her book City Farming: How-To Guide to Growing Crops & Raising Livestock in Urban Spaces, by 5MPublishing is a comprehensive, yet easy to read resource for any gardener or urban farmer.
greg

Greg Peterson

Co-Founder.
Yes he IS an Urban Farmer

Greg has lived at his home the Urban Farm for 30 years.  It is Phoenix’s first environmental showcase for urban farming.  This 1/3-acre yard features a primarily edible landscape, including over 70 fruit trees, rainwater and greywater harvesting, solar applications, and extensive use of reclaimed and recycled building materials.

Greg is the creator of the Urban Farm Fruit Tree Education program in Phoenix, Arizona which he began in 1999 when he discovered you could go into most nurseries and they would sell you a fruit tree that would never make fruit.  Back then the program was a yearly spring time education series on best practices for growing fruit trees.  Since then it has turned into a program where thousands of people attend free online and in person classes and get to preorder fruit trees for planting in the low desert.  Each year the program delivers over 5000 fruit trees into the local market.

Greg is also the host of the UrbanFarmPodcast.com that has released over 600 episodes, with over 2.5 million listens.  On his days off he hangs out in his garden with Heidi his sweetheart, Kismet his pooch and their chickens, creating new projects and catching some rays.

janis

Janis Norton

Partner, Manager.
Keeping things organized

Janis earned her degree in Sustainability from Arizona State University. Her previous experience in working classrooms, running youth programs, and Boy Scout Council Training and Camp leadership were all community and education focused. During her stint at the university, she snagged an internship with The Urban Farm. There she became motivated to learn all she could about gardening and urban farming while using her organization and project management skills to help facilitate a couple of The Urban Farm’s larger events and took on managing the 2nd Annual Great American Seed Up. Now that she’s found her calling and knows she is making a difference in her community, there is no stopping her!

Every successful group has fabulous people helping bring the music to life!
And the bigger this project gets…
the more we depend on others to Excite, Inspire, and Empower us toward our goals.

Let us introduce our backup singers…

Renée Fourie

Social Media & Seed Shop Leader
Energizing our message and
Getting orders filled!!

Frances Craik

Website Support & Seed Team

Raymond Jess

Gardening Expert & Seed Team