The seven chapters of the Northeast Organic Farming Association (NH, NY, MA, NJ, RI, CT and VT) have been working to develop food security programs and learning opportunities throughout our region. This winter each chapter will be implementing various workshops at our Winter Conferences that discuss topics to build self resiliency, grow agriculture communities, develop systems for improved access, increase land access, and reduce climate decline. To kick off our Winter Conference season we have invited the NOFA/Mass Keynote Speaker Ira Wallace, of the Southern Exposure Seed Exchange, to share with us the importance of food security and how seed saving continues to play such an important role in feeding our communities. We will also meet representatives of the NOFA chapters to learn more about the food security work being done in our states.
Ira Wallace is a worker/owner of the cooperatively managed Southern Exposure Seed Exchange (SESE) www.SouthernExposure.com. Ira started saving herb and flower seeds in the 1970's and became professionally involved in the seed business in 1998. At SESE she coordinates education and outreach as well as co-managing variety selection and new seed grower contracts with SESE’s network of 70+ seed producing farms. Ira also conducts variety trials for SESE and researches and documents the history of varieties offered in the annual catalog. Southern Exposure offers over 700 varieties of open-pollinated heirloom and organic (500+ USDA certified organic) seeds selected for flavor and regional adaptability. It is the oldest company in the southeast focusing on heirloom, organic, open-pollinated seeds. Since 1983 Southern Exposure has been helping people in the southeast get control of their food supply by supporting sustainable home and market gardening, seed saving, and preserving heirloom varieties.