Sixth annual Appalachian Seed Swap held over weekend

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BUCKLEYS CREEK, Ky. — The sixth annual Appalachian Seed Swap was hosted Saturday at Pike Central High School. 

The event was free and offered a family-friendly environment to buy, sell or trade heirloom seeds and plants. There were over 45 vendors who offered information as well as products from the Pikeville Farmer’s Market.

Classes were also held on a variety of topics.

“I came to the seed swap to demonstrate cooking with some heirloom vegetables,” said Bob Perry. Perry is a chef of Dietetics & Human Nutrition at the University of Kentucky’s College of Agriculture. “It’s not the right time of year to use heirloom vegetables but it’s the right time to swap seeds. So I brought some stuff out of my own garden.

“I’m going to fresh grind white hickory corn and from that I’m going to make a nice pot of polinta, which is the Italian version of corn meal mush.”

The event was sponsored by the Pikeville Farmer’s Market, Pike County Cooperative Extension Office and the City of Pikeville.

“There’s a great diversity collection of seeds, seed savers, trading and selling seeds,” added John Coykendall, master gardener of Blackberry Farms in Tennessee. “It’s just a wonderful event. This is furthering the cause of genetic conservation … saving seeds for the future.”

“Tell people that there’s still real food out there if they just look for it,” said Bill Best, director of Sustainable Mountain Agriculture Center. “They can grow it themselves.”

Farmers and advocates alike say events like the Appalachian Seed Swap are very important and encourage many more to participate. 

Coykendall added, “Get involved, become a part of this. It’s very very rewarding to know that you’re a part of seed saving and preserving history, heritage, culture and way of life.”

Over 700 people attended Saturday’s event.