By Khloe Quill
Two gardening giants of the DC metro area joined forces last weekend to lead a massive virtual gathering for gardeners and farmers. The Maryland Organic Food and Farming Association (MOFFA) co-hosted the four-day event with Rooting DC. Attendees were met with a slew of workshops aimed at cultivating the health and protection of the environment and building a community of growers.
Rooting DC is an annual urban gardening forum. While it’s normally held in person, it went online this year with the help of MOFFA, an organization whose mission it is to sponsor workshops, field days, and related educational activities and speak on behalf of organic agriculture.
“MOFFA reached out to us last year because their annual Winter Meeting was scheduled for the same day as Rooting DC 2020. At the time, it was too late for either of us to switch dates so we committed to being in touch when planning started for our respective 2021 events,” Kathleen Rehwaldt, a co-coordinator of the event, wrote in an email.
Here at Washington Gardener our readers know we’re all about all things seeds. (I mean, we created National Seed Swap Day!) So we simply had to tune into Bevin Cohen’s presentation on Saturday, titled, “Saving Our Seeds: Preserving the Past to Provide for the Future.” Cohen hails from Small House Farm in Michigan, where they grow most of their own food.
“Not only, when we save and share our seeds, do we create a better community through food security by ensuring that people have local adapted seeds to grow for nutrition, but also it builds community because of camaraderie,” he shared during the webinar.
Cohen shared some fundamentals of seed-saving, including a list of basic equipment and a simple layout for those wishing to label their seeds. Included in the hour-long session was also an explanation of both dry and wet seed saving processes. It was an easy-to-follow, beginner-safe introduction to the world of seeds and I’ll definitely be using this knowledge as I begin my garden this spring.
The biggest thing amidst other presentations was an emphasis on the sense of community found among gardeners and small-scale farmers. It’s hard to feel that way given the current isolation, but this virtual event and its massive turnout proved that the community is still here, ready and waiting. Rehwaldt emphasized this statement in her email. She is optimistic that those in attendance left feeling connected even at this great distance.
“We hope people left with...a sense that we have not lost our connection to one another, even if it feels that way at times right now. We hope by collaborating with MOFFA we imparted a sense of 'stronger together' and that this community is here to lean on each other when things don't go as planned,” she said.
Rooting DC and MOFFA provided an effortless look into the ways we’re all still connected with one another, and thank you to them for hosting such an informative conference.
About the Author: Khloe Quill is a journalism major at the University of Maryland, College Park, and an intern this semester with Washington Gardener. She is a native of Frederick, MD.