Great American Seed Up!

More from this show

The Great American Seed Up will be held this Saturday in Phoenix, and is an effort to get seeds into the hands of those looking for locally grown seeds and who are concerned about the quality of seeds. Greg Peterson, the co-founder of the Great American Seed Up, will tell us more.

TED SIMONS: TONIGHT'S EDITION OF ARIZONA SUSTAINABILITY LOOKS AT THE GREAT AMERICAN SEED UP. AN EFFORT TO GET LOCALLY PRODUCED FOOD IN THE HANDS OF LOCAL GARDENERS AND FOOD PRODUCERS. THE GOAL IS TO IMPROVE THE INTEGRITY OF OUR FOOD AND SEED SYSTEMS. JOINING US IS GREG PETERSON, CO-FOUNDER OF THE GREAT AMERICAN SEED UP. HE'S BROUGHT SOME FRIENDS ALONG WITH HIM.

GREG PETERSON: I LIKE THAT YOU CALLED THEM FRIENDS.

TED SIMONS: YES, I'M SURE YOU DO. THANKS FOR JOINING US.

GREG PETERSON: THANK YOU.

TED SIMONS: GIVE ME A BETTER DEFINITION OF THE GREAT AMERICAN SEED UP. WHAT IS THIS?

GREG PETERSON: I WAS ON VACATION WITH MY FRIENDS A COUPLE OF YEARS AGO AND WE PONDERED WHAT IF WE COULD BUILD A LOCAL, MORE SECURE SEED ECONOMY. IF YOU HAVE LOCAL FOOD, YOU HAVE TO HAVE LOCAL SEED AND WE DREAMED UP THIS IDEA CALLED THE GREAT AMERICAN SEED UP AND PURCHASED 70 DIFFERENT VARIETIES OF SEEDS AND PUT THEM IN A ROOM, EACH IN A INDIVIDUAL BUCKET SO PEOPLE COULD GO IN AND SCOOP UP, HOWEVER MANY OUNCES THEY WANTED TO.

TED SIMONS: BUT WE'RE TALKING ABOUT THE INTEGRITY OF SEEDS AND MAKING SURE THEY ARE LOCALLY PRODUCED. WHY? IS THERE A PROBLEM? SHOULD WE BE WORRIED ABOUT THE SEEDS?

GREG PETERSON: THE BIG CHALLENGE IS WE HAVE A TENUOUS FOOD SYSTEM. WE HAVE A FOOD SYSTEM THAT BASICALLY KEEPS A THREE-DAY SUPPLY OF FOOD ON THE GROCERY SHELVES. IT'S A BEAUTIFUL SYSTEM AND THAT'S THE WAY IT'S SET UP. THE LOCAL SYSTEM, THE TENUOUS PARTS, IF SOMETHING WERE TO HAPPEN, NOT TALKING THE END OF THE WORLD, BUT A POWER OUTAGE OR A STORM. THERE'S NOT ENOUGH FOOD HERE FOR US AND IN ORDER TO GROW FOOD, WE HAVE TO HAVE SEEDS. SO THE TENUOUS PART IS WE SIMPLY DON'T HAVE ENOUGH SEEDS IN THE PHOENIX METROPOLITAN AREA TO GROW THE FOOD WE NEED.

TED SIMONS: TALKING ABOUT COLLECTING SEEDS AND SAVING -- YOU'VE GOT SEEDS RIGHT HERE. LOCAL?

GREG PETERSON: THEY'RE NOT.

TED SIMONS: THEY'RE NOT LOCAL?

GREG PETERSON: THEY'RE NOT LOCAL BECAUSE WE HAVE SO MANY SEEDS WE HAVE TO STOCK EVERYBODY UP WITH. WE START BY BRINGING THEM IN. AND ON THE DAY OF THE GREAT AMERICAN SEAT UP, THIS SATURDAY, WE GIVE CLASSES ON HOW TO SAVE YOUR OWN SEEDS, HOW TO STORE THEM. CAUSE YOU ACTUALLY STORE THEM IN A FREEZER. AND HOW TO START YOUR OWN SEEDS AND WE ENCOURAGE PEOPLE TO TAKE THESE SEEDS HOME PLANT THEM AND HAVE THEM TO FLOWER AND SAVE THEM FOR NEXT TIME.

TED SIMONS: HOW DO YOU KNOW IF A SEED IS WORTH PRESERVING? ARE THERE SEEDS THAT SHOULD BE TOSSED OUT OR SAVED?

GREG PETERSON: GOOD QUESTION. I DON'T KNOW IF I CAN MAKE A JUDGMENT. AS FAR AS I'M CONCERNED, IF YOU CAN EAT IT, IT'S A COOL SEED TO SAVE.

TED SIMONS: AND PRESERVED -- THERE ARE SEED LIBRARIES AROUND THE STATE, ARE THERE NOT?

GREG PETERSON: THERE ARE. SO ABOUT EIGHT YEARS AGO, THIS IDEA OF USING OUR LIBRARIES -- AND THEY ACTUALLY USED OLD LIBRARY CARD FILE SO --

TED SIMONS: YOU PULL IT OUT AND THERE'S A SEED?

GREG PETERSON: THERE'S PACKETS OF SEEDS. ISN'T THAT COOL?

TED SIMONS: OH, MY GOODNESS.

GREG PETERSON: THEY'RE USING THE LIBRARY SYSTEM TO STORE SEEDS AND HAVE THEM AVAILABLE FOR PEOPLE TO CHECK OUT. AND THEN THEY BRING SOME BACK.

TED SIMONS: SOMEONE WANTS TO CHECK OUT THE GREAT AMERICAN SEED UP, WHAT SHOULD THEY EXPECT? SOME INSTRUCTION, A CHANCE TO SAMPLE -- WHAT HAPPENS?

GREG PETERSON: WE USE THE NORTH PHOENIX BAPTIST CHURCH, THE FELLOWSHIP HALL. IT'S 10,000 SQUARE FEET. WE SET IT UP ON FRIDAY AND PUT THE SEEDS IN THE SPACE ALONG WITH SIGNS AND GIVE BUSINESS CARDS HOW TO GROW THEM. AND SO PEOPLE COME IN THE ROOM AND IT WILL BE WONDERFUL MAYHEM, HUNDREDS OF PEOPLE THERE. GO IN THE ROOM AND IT'S ALMOST LIKE CHRISTMAS. AND GO IN AND SCOOP UP BEANS AND PULL A BUSINESS CARD THAT SAYS HERE WHAT IS -- HERE'S WHAT YOU DO WITH THEM AND STICK IT IN A BAG, AND MARK IT ON THE LIST. AND GOT THE BEANS, WHICH BY THE WAY, IS $1.25.

TED SIMONS: INTERESTING.

GREG PETERSON: WE MAKE THE SEEDS VERY INEXPENSIVE ON PURPOSE. OUR GOAL IS TO CREATE 10,000 FREEZERS OUT THERE, PEOPLE STORING AND GROWING OUT SEEDS.

TED SIMONS: OF SEEDS THAT HAVEN'T BEEN CORRUPTED?

GREG PETERSON: THERE YOU GO.

TED SIMONS: SO AGAIN, NORTH PHOENIX BAPTIST CHURCH. WHEN IS IT HAPPENING AGAIN?

GREG PETERSON: THIS SATURDAY, WE HAVE TICKETS AVAILABLE FOR SATURDAY AFTERNOON AND YOU GO TO GREATAMERICANSEED UP.COM TO GET YOUR TICKETS.

TED: GREATAMERICANSEEDUP.COM.

GREG PETERSON: YES.

TED SIMONS: THANK YOU, GOOD LUCK TO YOU. THANK YOU FOR BRINGING YOUR FRIENDS. THEY DON'T LOOK REAL.

GREG PETERSON: I KNOW, ISN'T THAT COOL.

TED SIMONS: THANKS FOR JOINING US, WE APPRECIATE IT.

Greg Peterson: co-founder of the Great American Seed Up

airs Feb. 28

Desert Dreams: Celebrating Five Seasons in the Sonoran Desert

Barry Gibb singing (Bee Gees: In Our Own Time)
aired Feb. 24

Bee Gees: In Our Own Time

A cute little duckling with text reading: Arizona PBS Ducks in a Row Event
March 6

Getting Your Ducks in a Row to Avoid Conflict When You Are Gone

Johnny Cash, Waylon Jennings, Kris Kristofferson and Willie Nelson
aired Feb. 23

The Highwaymen: Live at Nassau Coliseum

Subscribe to Arizona PBS Newsletters

STAY in touch
with azpbs.org!

Subscribe to Arizona PBS Newsletters: