Seed Saving Farmer Training

Project Overview

Project Type: Professional Development Program
Funds awarded in 2018: $45,350.00
Projected End Date: 06/30/2019
Grant Recipient: Rocky Mountain Seed Alliance
Region: Western
State: Colorado
Principal Investigator:
Lee-Ann Hill
Rocky Mountain Seed Alliance


Not commodity specific


  • Crop Production: seed saving
  • Education and Training: workshop
  • Farm Business Management: value added, whole farm planning
  • Production Systems: organic agriculture, permaculture
  • Sustainable Communities: local and regional food systems

    Proposal abstract:

    Locally saved and distributed seeds are the missing link in many sustainable agriculture systems.
    Traditional seed saving practices build up regional adaptations in crop varieties that reduce the
    need for toxic pesticides and support low-input, sustainable farming operations. According to the
    Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, promoting seed saving among farmers
    offers great benefits to increase food security, environmental health, and economic viability in
    agricultural regions.
    Since its founding in 2014, the Rocky Mountain Seed Alliance (RMSA) has been working with
    farmers in Mountain West communities to develop regionally adapted seed systems that support
    sustainable agriculture. The proposed project will train agricultural professionals to become
    educators for farmers in their regional areas, teaching crop producers how to integrate seed
    saving into their growing and business models. This project builds on RMSA’s successful Seed
    School educational programs which have made a significant impact on spreading seed
    knowledge and skills among farmers and gardeners. Project activities include: developing a
    targeted curriculum for ag professionals (Seed Teachers) to educate farmers in creating seed
    enterprises, including on-farm seed saving, marketing and distribution; creating a separate
    curriculum for trained ag professionals to utilize in teaching farmers; and supporting a pilot
    series of 2 – 3 two-day Seed School for Farmers workshops conducted by Seed Teachers in their
    regional communities.
    This project will directly increase seed saving knowledge, skills, and action to support
    sustainable agriculture efforts among Rocky Mountain farmers. By building this educational
    capacity among ag professionals, the proposed project will contribute to healthier environments,
    more profitable enterprises, and a higher quality of life for regional farmers and their

    Project objectives from proposal:

    We will accomplish the following objectives with this project:
    1. Develop teacher training educational curriculum for integration of seed saving practices
    into farming and business models for small farmer/producers
    2. Train up to 30 agricultural professionals as educators for farmers in integrated seed
    saving practices (“Seed School Teacher Training for Farmers” (SSTTF))
    3. Create curriculum and associated educational materials for two-day Seed School for
    Farmers (SSF) workshop that newly trained agricultural professionals (“Seed Teachers”)
    can utilize in educating local farmers
    4. Offer administrative and technical support for a pilot series of 2 – 3 Seed School for
    Farmers (two-day) workshops conducted by Seed Teachers in their regional communities
    The project objectives will be achieved over a period of one year during the grant period (April
    2018 to March 2019). Curricula development will take place from May to September of 2018.
    Agricultural professionals will be trained in a six-day workshop held in October of 2018.
    Further, support for the pilot series of Seed School for Farmers workshops will be provided from
    October of 2018 to March of 2019.

    Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the U.S. Department of Agriculture or SARE.