Category Archives: Talks

Seminar on Community Seed Banks in Oslo

On 31st October, I took part in a seminar at the Fridtjof Nansen Institute in Oslo on Community Seed Banks with interesting talks and discussions with pioneers of the seed saver movement in Europe from Pro Specie Rara (Switzerland), Heritage Seed Library (UK) and Aegilops (Greece). Videos of all the talks can be seen by following the link: https://www.fni.no/news/community-seed-banks-as-springboards-for-enhancing-food-and-crop-diversity-article2178-330.html
In my short 10 minute introduction to Norwegian Seed Savers, I talk about one of the pioneers and the person that inspired me into seed saving, Lawrence Hills of the Henry Doubleday Research Association. The first newsletter I received from HDRA in 1980 was about the World’s Vanishing Vegetables…almost exactly 40 years on it’s a very interesting read:  https://www.fni.no/getfile.php/1311057-1573120703/Dokumenter/Kvann%20-%20powerpoint%20presentation.pdf
Thanks to Regine Anderson of FNI for arranging this event!

Seacoast Permaculture in Portmouth, NH!

Many thanks to Amy Antonucci and Seacoast Permaculture for arranging the second of my two part Around the World in 80 plants talks in Portsmouth, NH on Friday night, 4th October (The Mediterannean to New England via Portsmouth, UK)! Great venue, food and folk (potluck before the talk). It felt like coming home to Hampshire, UK, listening to folks talking to each other at the potluck! “I’m from Winchester….Exeter…..etc.” 
Thanks also to Becca Hedlund for the accommodation! Thanks also to Greg Martin (and Aaron Parker) who came to both talks! I sent both of them seed of Hablitzia tamnoides 10 years ago in 2009, only beaten by Jonathan Bates and Eric Toensmeier!

The Urban Forestry Center in Portsmouth, NH:

Amy Antonucci and Aaron Parker did the introduction:

Hablitzia tamnoides thrives at Edgewood Nursery, Aaron Parker’s place!

Perennial Vegetables and Edimentals in Maine

A great evening at the Resilience Hub in Portland, Maine after a tour of Aaron Parker’s Edgewood Nursery where I’m staying! Possibly the best stocked edible perennial nursery that I’ve visited! More on this when I return!
Aaron was one of the first I sent seed of Hablitzia to in North America early in 2009, after Jonathan Bates (Eric Toensmeier’s partner at Holyoke). Hablitzia is now a best seller at the nursery and Aaron told me is also grown commercially in Maine, particularly valuable due to the early spring harvest! Another person I sent seed to in 2009, Greg Martin was also there last night!
Thanks also to Aaron for setting up my tour of New England!

Live in Holyoke!

It was a great evening last night in Holyoke, Massachusetts last night with a great group of knowledgeable permaculture folk! I was also on a tour of Eric’s place Paradise Lot…..WOW!! Much more of that when I’m home!
The first picture shows the great Eric Toensmeier introducing me :)

Afterwards we went to the legendary Tripple Brook Farm nursery run by Steve Briar, the big permaculture inspirer in this area and a thoroughly nice guy too (more on all the plants we saw here later too!)

The Extreme Salad Man in Atlanta

Many thanks to all who turned up for my talk in Atlanta last night. I’m told there were almost 200 people :) The book store sold all 25 books they had bought from Chelsea Green! Great also to talk to so many interesting folk after the talk at the book signing :)

An unexpected surprise was a meeting with Bob Pemberton, main author of a paper on the Wild food plants in South Korea from 1996, which I reference several times in my book (picture below).

Writing this in transit in the Chicago O’Hare airport….Chicago onion (Allium cernuum) was the first picture on my presentation!

Thanks also to my hosts Cornelia Cho, who suggested to the garden I might do a talk, and Sam Landes who are president and board member of the Mushroom Club of Georgia! Some 20 of their members were at the talk!
Pemberton, RW and NS Lee (1996) ‘Wild food plants in South Korea: Market presence, new crops and export to the United States’ in Econ. Bot. Vol 50, pp57-60.

Edimentals tour of the US

I’ll be giving a series of talks and courses in the US from 22nd September to 6th October, including at Joe Hollis’ Mountain Gardens in North Carolina; at the Atlanta Botanical Gardens, at the Norwegian-American Vesterheim Museum in Decorah in collaboration with Seed Savers Exchange; at the (sold out) Mid-West Wild Harvest Festival, in Holyoke, Massachusetts (organised by Eric Toensmeier); in Portland, Maine (Resilience Hub and Aaron Parker of Edgewood Nursery);  in Portsmouth, New Hampshire (Seacoast Permaculture);
and ending up in New York City!
Please share if you know anyone who may be interested!
Here are the details:
22nd September:  Walk and talk with Joe Hollis at Mountain Gardens (near Asheville, North Carolina) (see https://www.mountaingardensherbs.com and https://www.facebook.com/MountainGardensHerbs); Tickets available at https://tinyurl.com/y4wj6lbs  (FB Event:  https://www.facebook.com/events/2030757437030893)

24th September:  Evening talk at the Atlanta Botanical Garden, Atlanta, Georgia (the Alston lecture); see https://atlantabg.org/calendar/alston-lecture-around-the-world-in-80-plants-an-edible-perennial-vegetable-adventure

26th September 18:30-19:30:  Talk co-hosted by Seed Savers Exchange and the Norwegian-American Vesterheim Museum in Decorah, Iowa! (At the museum in Decorah).  Free event. See https://www.facebook.com/events/2087313744706313

27th-29th September:  (SOLD OUT) Mid-West Wild Harvest Festival (Keynote plus two*3 hour talks /courses); https://www.facebook.com/groups/wildharvestfestival and https://www.wildharvestfestival.org/register.html

1st  October 18-20.  Talk organised by Eric Toensmeier at the Holyoke Community Center, Holyoke, Massachusetts (see https://www.facebook.com/events/422368631727286)

3rd October: Talk “Around the World in 80 Plants: From New England westwards to the Mediterranean” organised by Aaron Parker of https://www.facebook.com/pg/EdgewoodNursery  and the The Resilience Hub & Portland Maine Permaculture at the Resilience Hub in Portland, Maine. See https://www.meetup.com/maine-permaculture/events/262011274 

4th October (19-21):  Talk “Around the World in 80 Plants: The Mediterranean north and westwards via Old England, Norway to New England” at the Urban Forestry Center
Portsmouth, New Hampshire, USA (organised by  Seacoast Permaculture, North Shore Permaculture Collaborative in collaboration with The Resilience Hub & Portland Maine Permaculture ) (FB: https://www.facebook.com/events/842574716098048; Tickets:  https://tinyurl.com/y25tj8wq)

5th October: Looking for organisers for an evening event in the Boston area (possibly a walk and talk in the Arnold Arboretum)

6th October:   An event is being organised in the New York City area (more details will be posted)

The Edible Garden Land Centre Opening

During KVANN’s (Norwegian Seed Savers) annual meeting weekend in Trondheim we had an official opening ceremony for my garden, The Edible Garden (Den Spiselige Hagen), as a Permaculture LAND Centre, the 3rd in Norway. The official opening was fun and can be seen in the second video. Owner of Norway’s first LAND centre, Eirik Lillebøe Wiken performs the official opening from ca. 18.00 in the second video!
The videos are mostly in Norwegian!

Del 1: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dNQi9MmmrF8
Del 2: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vHANyZXsHMA

See also my earlier post with more pictures and a video: http://www.edimentals.com/blog/?p=21953

2019 US East Coast Fall Speaking Tour

I’m making the most of my invite to the Mid-West Wild Harvest Festival at the end of September, where I get to teach alongside great North American foraging authors Sam Thayer, Leda Meredith, Ellen Zachos and others! I am pleased to announce a number of other events including a walk and talk with the great Joe Hollis at Mountain Gardens in North Carolina and an event put on by the one and only Eric Toensmeier in Holyoke, Western Massachusetts (I’m promised ripe pawpaws and American persimmons!), followed by a series of other talks in New England organised by my friend Aaron Parker of Edgewood Nursery near Portland! Here is the whole list (still possibilities in Boston and New York):

22nd September:  Walk and talk with the great Joe Hollis at Mountain Gardens (near Asheville, North Carolina) (see https://www.mountaingardensherbs.com and https://www.facebook.com/MountainGardensHerbs); details not available yet!

24th September:  Evening talk at the Atlanta Botanical Garden, Atlanta, Georgia; details not available yet!

26th September:  Visit and talk at Seed Savers Exchange in Decorah, Iowa!

27th-29th September:  Mid-West Wild Harvest Festival (Keynote plus two*3 hour talks /courses); https://www.facebook.com/groups/wildharvestfestival and https://www.wildharvestfestival.org/register.html

1st  October:  Talk organised by author of Perennial Vegetables and other great books, Eric Toensmeier in Holyoke, Western Massachusetts (details not available yet).

3rd October: Talk “Around the World in 80 Plants: New England to the Mediterranean”  organised by Aaron Parker of https://www.facebook.com/pg/EdgewoodNursery in or around Portland, Maine (details not available yet). The talk continues with the rest of the world in Portsmouth the next day:

4th October (19-21):  Talk “Around the World in 80 Plants: The Mediterranean to New England” at the Urban Forestry Center
Portsmouth, New Hampshire, USA (organised by  Seacoast Permaculture, North Shore Permaculture Collaborative in collaboration with The Resilience Hub & Portland Maine Permaculture ) (FB: https://www.facebook.com/events/842574716098048; Tickets:  https://tinyurl.com/y25tj8wq)

5th October: Looking for organisers for an evening event in the Boston area (possibly a walk and talk in the Arnold Arboretum)

6th October:  Looking for organisers for a daytime event in the New York City area (possibly a walk and talk in the Brooklyn Botanical Garden or elsewhere) 

Valbjør Gård and Nordigard Aukrust!

On 1st June, I gave a talk at one of Norway’s oldest herb farms, Nordigard Aukrust, run organically by Ola Aukrust since the 1980s.  This was my first visit although I’d known of Ola’s work for many years! See the pictures below, including a few Alliums in the beautiful herb garden (immediately below is a summer shot taken from a local tourist page!)

On the bus from the train at Otta to Lom the evening before, I noticed a sign to Valbjør Farm, which my friend and Norwegian Seed Saver (KVANN) Andrew McMillion had visited in 2015. During the visit he had found Allium fistulosum growing on one of the turf roofs and had been given a few onions which he has since shared through KVANN’s Year Book. 10 years ago, I had been on a tour of nearby onion turf roofs near Otta and Vågå (see http://www.edimentals.com/blog/?p=14436). I had heard that there were also onions at Valbjør but hadn’t yet been there. It turned out that the woman who offered to give me a lift from the course at Lom back to Otta, had been at one of my talks some years ago in Heidal. I asked her if we could see Valbjør up on the hills from the main road and told her about the onion roof!  Even better, she said, we’ll make a detour to the place.

Valbjør Gård (picture from Andrew McMillion)

So, it came to pass that we spent 45 minutes or so at the farm and met the long-term organic farmer, Kai Valbjør, who had run the farm organically since the 1980s and, it turned out, was one of the open organic gardens in the national Norwegian organic network which we and Nordigard Aukrust were part of!!  It’s all interconnected!! There was also an overgrown herb garden. Valbjør Farm comprises 13 restored buildings from the 17th, 18th and 19th century and is protected by law. A young couple, Ola og Kjerstin Kaurstad, had bought the farm last year and, in particular, Kjerstin was very interested to learn more about the herbs that had survived, despite the neglect. We spent some time looking for herbs and I took a few with me, in case they turn out to be old! There were a few more surprises, see the album at the bottom of this page!

Where did the Valbjør onions come from?
It turned out that the roof onions at Valbjør had not been there for long and had come from another location.  Initial information was that they came from Sve Farm (which I had visited and already had onions in the national onion collection at the Ringve Botanical Garden in Trondheim. Kai Valbjør told that Andrew that they had been given them from herbalist Adi Bertoli at Sjoa. Adi was not sure that it was she who had given the onions to Valbjør, but her roof onions came from seed she was given by botanist Hans Shwenke in Otta (who had been on the tour of roof onion locations 10 years previously). Adi remembered that Hans had his onions from a place called Steberløkken in Kvam. Hans confirmed that the farm was probably called Næsset.

Nordigard Aukrust and Lom: