Last weekend we had the pleasure of attending the Seed Savers Exchange Annual Camp Out in Decorah, Iowa. When I learned that Craig was invited to speak my first reaction (like many New Englanders) was "Iowa, what's in Iowa?". But much to my surprise there is a lot to see in Iowa - and not just corn fields. Decorah is a lovely, thriving small town...with the beautifully restored Hotel Winneshiek, great restaurants, galleries, ice cream and yes, (most importantly) it has a wonderful quilt shop and yarn store (who could ask for more!). Also we had the pleasure of seeing our friends, Jeff and Mary from Michigan.
But getting on to the the main reason for our trip - the Seed Savers Exchange Camp Out. The organization's Heritage Farm is in Decorah and comprises 900 acres of beautiful farmlands used for display, preservation and research gardens, as well as land for the preservation of Ancient White Park Cattle. Friday we had a tour of all the facilities and gardens. Craig and I were so impressed by the knowledge, handling of the genetic purity of the vast amount of seeds that they save and maintain, and germination and disease testing. Saturday and Sunday were spent in informative work shops and lectures, eating local organic food, and even an old-fashioned barn dance. Craig's tomato talks went well and a lot of people are excited about his Dwarf Tomato breeding project.
When we got home a friend asked me what my favorite part of the weekend was and I didn't have to think too long. It was the delightful and interesting people we met. It was so inspiring to be around like-minded people who believe in the importance of saving our heritage.