Celebrate Garden & Community at Seed Savers Exchange’s FREE Summer Gathering

Enjoy the beauty of an Iowa summer, and celebrate gardening, food, and community found both in the garden and at the table at Seed Savers Exchange’s annual Conference and Campout, July 20 and 21 at Heritage Farm in Decorah, Iowa.

The two-day event is free to attend, a change from previous years thanks to the support of Decorah Bank & Trust, Terra Chips, and the Decorah Hotel-Motel Tax Committee, and the weekend’s line-up includes speakers from across the nation, as well as garden tours and hayrides, and a seed swap, bonfire, potluck, and old-fashioned barn dance. This can’t-miss event is a must for garden, food, and
environmental enthusiasts alike.

“The Conference and Campout has always been about community,” says Lee Buttala, SSE executive director, “This year, we hope to welcome an expanded roster of visitors by offering the event for free and by focusing on programming not only on the art and practice of seed saving, our work, and the history of heirloom varieties, but also on good gardening practices for gardeners of all skill levels.”

And what better way to create a sense of community than with a potluck? The event kicks off on Friday night with a potluck and cash bar, followed by a seed swap, hayrides, and a bonfire.

On Saturday, garden tours and hayrides will run throughout the morning. A full speaker line-up includes Jovan Sage, formerly of Slow Food will talk about southern foodways, Ros Creasy will share her expertise in edible landscaping, Marilyn McHugh will share her knowledge of caring for the soil from her work in Africa and India to Cleveland, Ohio, and garden expert John Whitman will share his knowledge of cold-climate vegetable gardening.

“It’s definitely a ‘plan your own adventure’ event,” says Jeanine Scheffert, event coordinator, “There’s plenty to do for everyone and we encourage people to choose what interests them, but also to simply spend time enjoying Heritage Farm and one another.”

Saturday wraps up with a ticketed dinner, cash bar, and a barn dance with music by Western Home String Band.

The event is free to attend, but people are encouraged to RSVP at

Lunch and dinner will be available on Saturday. On-premise campsites can also be rented. The deadline to purchase meal tickets and to reserve campsites is July 5. Meal tickets and campsites can be purchased online at

Event details:
What: Seed Savers Exchange’s Annual Conference and Campout
When: Friday, July 20 and Saturday, July 21
Where: 3074 North Winn Rd, Decorah, Iowa
Cost: Free to attend (registration encouraged); meals and campsites available for pre-purchase (reserve by July 5)

For full schedule and details:

About SSE
Seed Savers Exchange is a nonprofit headquartered in Decorah, Iowa. The organization’s mission is to conserve and promote America’s culturally diverse but endangered garden and food crop heritage for future generations by collecting, growing, and sharing heirloom seeds and plants.