In-Person Events –The Great American Seed Up:
The in-person Great American Seed Up events are our original idea bringing bulk seed and seed saving education to our local community. We are planning in-person events for 2021, with social distancing concerns addressed to the best of our abilities. Below are some of the frequently asked questions and the answers that can help explain our original program.
*UPDATED: July 28th, 2021
Here’s how it works
- Register for your choice of days
- Attend the event, scoop your seeds, experience the amazing energy!!!
- Check out our Seed Education Portal with access to previous presentations.
- Join us for our Seed Up Saturday Online events for presentations and Live Q&A.
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 access to several online presentations with seed and gardening experts to spread knowledge about traditional and modern seed saving practices.
What changes happened in 2021 with social distancing in mind?
The coronavirus situation is still changing and we are working hard to keep our events as safe as we are able to with the information we have available. Based on current CDC guidelines, we are deciding to host the 2021 Great American Seed Up in addition to our online bulk seed shopping. One big change is we are opening up registrations with limited capacity each half hour, to help stage our participants through the room with more space and time between us. Below are some Frequently Asked Questions about both the new Seed Up In a Box program and our Great American Seed Up events.
1. How many people does one registration cover?
One person per registration ticket. Children under the age of 15 are free.
2. How long will it take to shop for seeds?
A typical visit to the seed room is about 30 to 60 minutes depending on how many seeds you are collecting. The Friday night presentation will be about an hour, and the Saturday seed classes are going to be 15-20 minutes each – with an hour per presenter. Check-out lines move fairly quickly as we have several team members helping and keeping the fun atmosphere going! Many participants enjoy spending several hours at the Seed Up to scoop seeds and take advantage of the movie or classes.
3. How big are the scoops?
Scoops vary from 1/4 teaspoon to 1/2 cup – depending on the size and bulk cost of the seeds themselves. We have selected the scoop size and shape to give you the best value for your investment. Often times the number of seeds per scoop will be at least four times what you would receive from a packet from a catalog company for half the price.
4. Will you have new seeds from the previous year?
Yes. We evaluate and making our shopping list each year. We try to add many new seeds each year and rotate some seeds out. We take great consideration while selecting new seeds and are excited to offer new varieties, including grains and cover crops! A proposed seed list will be made available in mid-September, and can be found on our home page to download.
5. Are the seeds GMO free?
Yes. We only source non-hybridized and non-GMO seeds.
6. Are the seeds Organic?
All seeds are untreated and open pollinated making them excellent for saving and even for an organic program if you are planning on selling food grown from the seeds. Furthermore, if you grow them organically (which we hope you do) and save them (which we hope you do), they now become organic! The certified organic seed program is complicated and has many provisions. And since a very small percentage of the overall seed market is organic, when we buy ONLY organic seed, we limit our ability to find great seed stock and diversity outside that narrow margin. We want to increase diversity and seed access and the reason we created the Great American Seed Up. We acquire the seeds from sources Bill McDorman (Executive Director of the Rocky Mountain Seed Alliance) has worked with since as early as the 80’s.
7. I registered online, will I need to print out a ticket?
No. We will have a check-in table for those who registered online. Priority entry will be given to those who have already registered.
8. Can I walk-in if I don’t register online?
Yes. However, priority entry is for those who pre-register with limited space each time slot for walk-ins., and only those who pre-register will receive the free online versions of the seed classes.
9. Is the speaker or movie the same as previous years?
No. We will be presenting new education this year, and we are working on making it all online.
10. Should I bring my own seed packets?
No. In order to keep costs down and maximize savings for you, we use appropriately-sized plastic bags for the various seeds. There is also a “seed card” that fits in the bag which specifies all the planting information you need for the variety chosen.
11. Should I bring my own shopping bags?
Of course we encourage using reusable shopping bags! They will be used at check-out.
12. What forms of payment can I use?
To register online: we accept PayPal and all major credit cards.
At the event: we accept cash, and all the major credit cards.
13. Will there be people to assist me if I have questions?
Absolutely! We have some of the best volunteers in town! We will have varied levels of experts from hopeful gardeners up to Master Gardeners, all on hand to help answer your seed and gardening questions.
14. What building is it in and what entrance do we use?
It is in building B, and the entrance will be through a set of the north doors. Signs will be posted showing entrance doors. Lines will be designated for preregistered and non-registered.
15. Where do I park?
Parking is best in the north and east parking lots, although they will fill quickly. If you are there on Saturday, the North parking lots will also contain the Uptown Farmers Market and its participants.
16. Can I bring my children?
Yes, we love to see kids at the Seed Up and encourage the seed shopping experience for future gardeners, however we do ask that you be vigilant while watching your younger children. Our seeds need to stay separated, and little hands can accidentally mix up seeds quite easily. We do not have child care or space for children to run in the seed room. Fortunately, in the Farmers Market itself there are spaces for kids to express their energy. – More info about kids at the Seed Up HERE.
17. Can we bring food and water into the Seed Up?
We encourage participants to eat before or after their Seed Up experience to keep our seeds uncontaminated. A capped water bottle is fine inside the seed room but please take extra care not to get any seeds or surfaces wet. On Saturday until 1 pm, you may purchase food at the Farmer’s Market taking place just outside our event.