2019 Workshop Schedule

Check out the 2019 Free the Seeds! workshop schedule below. You can also download a schedule here.


School Gardens 101: Workshop for K-12 Teachers

School garden creation and management. An important way to encourage kids to garden is to learn about gardening at school. Growing food in a school setting is an exceptional way to teach kids about where their food comes from. Encouraging teachers to step out of the classroom and into the garden is imperative if school gardens are to continue. This workshop will provide PIR and OPI renewal credits for teachers.

9:00-10:00 Room 207


Gardening and Farming with Wildlife – Amy Jacobs and Lisa Bate

Wild animals both help and hinder gardening and farming in northwest Montana. Learn from wildlife biologists how to enlist wildlife’s assistance with crop pollination and pest control and how to avoid or respond to problems that wild critters can cause in and near your garden and farm.

10:00-11:00 Room 202


Mushrooms for Health and Nutrition – Shawn McDyre

Shawn McDyre of Sun Hands Farm will discuss gourmet and medicinal mushrooms. Mushrooms are an underutilized source of food and nutrition in our current food system. This discussion will focus on the types of cultivated mushrooms, their health benefits, how they are cultivated and mushrooms’ role in ecology.

10:00-11:00 Room 203


Building Blocks of Healthy, Live Soil – Patti Armbrister

Soil is ALIVE. Learn what you need to do to keep the life in the soil alive and healthy. This workshop teaches the basic building blocks of live soil and includes a soil demonstration with local soils.

10:00-11:00 Room 204


Fruit Tree Pruning – Barton Morse

When pruning fruit trees, the overall goal is to shape the fruit tree like an umbrella, with fruit pickable from the ground and edges. Learn the 11 reasons why you should prune your fruit trees and techniques for doing so.

10:00-11:00 Room 205


Seed Starting 101 for Your Food Garden – Nathan Christiansen

Seed Starting 101 will focus on timing, equipment, technique and basic observational skills to help you grow strong and healthy plants from seed.

10:00-11:00 Room 206


Grow Your Own Herbs – Lindy Dewey

Grow herbs with purpose! Whether you are growing plants in your windowsill or planning a garden, this course will help you take the preliminary steps to start your own herb garden. We will cover the basics of garden design, how to grow and process herbs and how to choose the herbs for health-building and household uses.

10:00-11:00 Room 207


Kids’ Activities – Glacier Children’s Museum

Garden-themed activities for kids age 8 and older.

10:00-12:15 Room 208


Community Conversation: “If You Eat, You’re In” – Montana Food Economy Initiative

10:00-11:00 Room 209


Building Your Own Organic Oasis – Jackie Beyer

This workshop teaches you how to build an organic oasis, a place to enjoy that’s earth friendly and fun. It can grow nutrient-dense food or just be a pollinator haven and lovely landscape.

11:15-12:15 Room 202


Sourdough Bread Baking at Home – Kendra Hope

In this workshop, participants will be able to learn about baking whole-grain sourdough bread at home, from milling through baking. We will also talk about the benefits of whole grain and about options for locally sourced organic flours.

11:15-12:15 Room 203


Demystifying Water Bath Canning – Julie Laing

Canning is an easy way to preserve your harvest at home. But it can seem challenging, with many rules and restrictions. Local food blogger Julie Laing of Twice as Tasty will explain some of the dos and don’ts of home canning, including the importance of jar size and type, headspace and pH. You’ll learn how to choose ingredients and recipes and how to ensure each jar you fill for long-term storage remains both delicious and safe to eat.

11:15-12:15 Room 204


Care Farm and Seed Abundance – Pam Gerwe

Join farmers Pam Gerwe and Mike Jopek to learn about care farming. This program links farmers and adults with disabilities to spend time on the farm. This program helps us diversify our farm income and enriches the lives of both the farmers and the participants. We are working toward developing a value-added business with seeds and flowers with our clients.

11:15-12:15 Room 205


Steps to a Successful Seed-Saving Garden – Robin Kelson

Saving locally adapted seeds is central to a robust, value-based community food system. This interactive workshop will explain the three key components of building a successful seed-saving garden. Whether you are new to gardening or a long-time grower, everyone can save seeds!

11:15-12:15 Room 206


Backyard Beekeeping – Wade Foley

Introducing backyard beekeeping in our local environment, using natural methods to benefit the honeybee.

11:15-12:15 Room 207


Community Conversation: “Building Resilient Systems, Learning from Our Neighbors” – Climate Smart Glacier Country

11:15-12:15 Room 209


Backyard Vegetable Gardening – Christine Dye

How to get started and what grows well in the Flathead Valley of Montana. I moved to Kalispell almost 5 years ago and have taken pictures of how the garden has evolved and how I start the plants each spring.

1:00-2:00 Room 202


Microgreens with Mega-nutrients – Gary Kwasney

Come join us as we explore the world of microgreens! What they are (they are not sprouts), why grow them, health benefits and taste are all topics we will discuss. We will look at who can grow microgreens and how you can incorporate them into your daily diet. We will also do some taste testing and show you how to get started on your journey to a healthier lifestyle with microgreens.

1:00-2:00 Room 203


No-till, Regenerative Agriculture that Allows You to Earn a Living while Saving the World – Todd Ulizio

Join Todd Ulizio of Two Bear Farm for a review of the latest small-farm trends and practices that will help you become a better grower. From Elliot Coleman to J.M. Fortier, we’ll discuss some fascinating changes over the past 20 years.

1:00-2:00 Room 204


Fruit Tree Grafting for Everyone – Rod McIver

Fruit tree grafting is key to growing adapted fruit in our area, which is important for building our community food system. This interactive workshop will teach participants the basic skills of successful fruit tree grafting and why grafting is important.

1:00-2:00 Room 205


Seed Saving 2.0: Selecting for Early Emergence and Other Local Adaptations – Judy Owsowitz

Developing locally adapted seed means selecting for early emergence and other traits important for our growing region. This workshop will teach participants how to select for these traits and give them tools to enhance the local adaptability of the seeds they save.

1:00-2:00 Room 206


Seven Small Changes to Make Seasonal Eating Work for You – Mandy Gerth

Do you find yourself wanting to eat more fresh seasonal food but feel stuck in your shopping and eating patterns? Do you have a garden or CSA membership and want to incorporate more easy weeknight meals into your daily routine? Are you a homesteader or farmer who wants to have more “do-able” lifestyle changes for daily cooking and strategies for putting up more food in less time? This workshop will provide you with real-life solutions and systems for putting more real food on your table year-round.

1:00-2:00 Room 207


Kids’ Activities

Garden-themed activities for kids age 8 and older.

1:00-3:15 Room 208


Community Conversation: “State of Our Seed: Solving the Problem” – Organic Seed Alliance & Free the Seeds

1:00-3:15 Room 209


Bring in the Pollinators! Creating Permanent Pollinator Alleys – Patti Armbrister

Pollinator alleys can be called many things, from beetle bumps, to pollinator strips and to perennial cover crops. No matter what you call them, they will improve the soil health on your land and improve the nutrients of the plants you are growing on your property. Patti Armbrister of Agrarian Food Web will teach ways to create your own habitat for above- and below-ground beneficials to increase pollination and pest control and capitalize on all of the benefits of having mycorrhizal fungi in your soils, from water saving to disease control. Learn ways to get the most out your land and grow the best quality of food possible. Get the most out of your biological community!

2:15-3:15 Room 202


Easy Pickling – Julie Laing

Pickling is a safe, easy way to preserve almost any vegetable, including those grown at home from seed. Local food blogger Julie Laing of Twice as Tasty will introduce you to the basic science behind pickling and address the concerns that prevent people from pickling. You’ll learn how to customized your pickles to fit your produce and timeframe: mealtime pickles that are ready in minutes, refrigerator pickles ideal for single-jar batches, fermented pickles big on flavor and crunch, or pasteurized pickles perfect for long-term storage.

2:15-3:15 Room 203


Backyard Composting – Alissa LaChance

Recycle your yard and kitchen waste at home. Three methods will be discussed: the static cold method, vermicompost method and hot compost method. Pluses and minuses for each option will be covered, along with discussion of what materials can be used. Recycle instead of throw away!

2:15-3:15 Room 204


Potatoes in a Pot – Barton Morse

Growing potatoes in a pot is fun and exciting, because they grow so fast and you can see results weekly!

2:15-3:15 Room 205


GMOs, Hybrids and Heirlooms – What’s in a Name? – Robin Kelson

Growing nutrient-dense food is central to our ability to work together to build a resilient, value-based community food system. This workshop will demystify the hype behind the words “heirloom,” “GMO,” “organic” and “hybrids” and what’s important to know for your garden and your health.

2:15-3:15 Room 206


Technology + Community = Success – Chad Waite

Community building through garden tracking. Grotopo is a new technology based on a social media platform that is designed to make gardeners more successful.

2:15-3:15 Room 207