The annual Ozark Seed Swap is set for May 23 in the Administration Building at Ozark Folk Center State Park in Mountain View. The free event takes place from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. and is cosponsored by OFC, ROOST, and the University of Central Arkansas at Conway.
Got Whippoorwills, Razorbacks, Red Rippers, Pencil Cob, Hickory King, Greaseback or Turkey Craws to trade? Are you saving dill, cilantro and parsley seed? Then you are encouraged to attend. If you’re not a seed saver but want to get started, this event is the place to mingle with gardeners and farmers who can help. Get some seed, grow them, and return to the swap next year to swap for even more varieties. If you’re just getting started other items to share and trade include envelopes, garden implements, baked goods or tea.
It is also traditional to bring an instrument if you play one and join in a music jam.
The name of this seed swap project is ROOST (Revitalizing Ozark-Ouachita Seed Traditions). The mission of ROOST is to preserve and distribute traditional (heirloom) seed varieties. The results of this project will be the collection of information on endangered seeds, promotion of a seed sharing resource and the rejuvenation of traditional Ozark seed swaps. University students document the seeds, grow them out in ROOST gardens to distribute the next season, and catalogue them in a database of local varieties. Arkansas farmers and gardeners have a legacy of heirloom seeds that are in danger of being lost.
Sharing seeds will encourage production of diverse varieties for posterity.