Wolf Lake, Ind.— Gardeners and plant enthusiasts in the Michiana region once again have an event to look forward to this winter. Merry Lea Environmental Learning Center of Goshen College is hosting the third annual Michiana Regional Seed Swap virtually the week of January 11, 2021. There will be three days of educational virtual presentations that lead up to a live presentation, presenter Q&A and breakout sessions the morning of January 16 held on Zoom.

This is an educational event for residents in the region to exchange or acquire seeds, learn about seed saving techniques and gardening practices, and network with other gardeners. It is intended for everyone from first-time gardeners to experienced growers.

“A seed swap supports the biodiversity of crops grown in our region. Exchanging seeds helps us to create a ‘living seed bank’ of vegetables, grains, flowers and herbs that are regionally adapted to our area,” reports John Sherck, a local seed grower and swap contributor.

This year’s virtual event will include prerecorded presentations released on Merry Lea’s Facebook page and website on January 11, 13 and 15 at 2 p.m. each day. These talks include an introduction to seed saving for beginners, the history of heritage corn and its current varieties in the Michiana region, and more.

On Saturday, January 16 there will be multiple sessions held on Zoom from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. Stephen Silverbear McComber, Traditional Mohawk Elder and Seedkeeper, will deliver a live presentation on indigenous seed keeping. There will be a Q&A session with McComber, followed by breakout rooms to discuss questions and insights about each weekday presentation topic.

Participants are welcome to stay for the entire duration of Saturday’s events or pick and choose which sessions they would like to join. Viewers may also move from one breakout room to another as desired.

A seed exchange spreadsheet will be shared and explained on Saturday for those who want to exchange seeds of interest. Because the 2021 seed swap is taking place virtually, the event will feature a way of collecting and browsing seed requests and offers online. Participants will be able to connect with other gardeners individually to arrange for seed exchanges or sales.

This event is FREE and open to the public. Please register for the Saturday sessions on our website at www.goshen.edu/merrylea/michianaseedswap . More information on the presentations and schedule can be found on the website.

Merry Lea is located just south of Wolf Lake, Ind., halfway between Goshen and Fort Wayne. Directions and updates are available at goshen.edu/merrylea or the Merry Lea Facebook page . For questions regarding Merry Lea’s hours or new developments, contact merrylea@goshen.edu or (260) 799-5869.

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