we are in our 8th year as a 501c3 non-profit organization that works with, through, and for seeds to educate and support food growers and seed keepers. we acknowledge and give thanks to the founders of our organization who nurtured relationships and gave life to a movement of seed savers.
this page serves to honor the history of the organization
view our Historical Timeline
- Rocky Mountain Seed Alliance (RMSA) was founded by John Caccia, Bill McDorman and Belle Starr to create a network in the Rocky Mountain West that would connect communities with the seeds that sustain them.
- Momentum was built by offering Seed School in a Day programs across the Rocky Mountain West and across the country to invigorate seed stewards.
- Seed Stewards Program
- Heritage Grain Trials Program sets roots
- In early 2016, RMSA held a Grain School course at the University of Colorado, Colorado Springs (UCCS). Along with graduating 24 students, this course gave rise to an exciting new collaboration of grain farmers, breeders, and researchers.
- Began as a collaboration between Arkansas Watershed Collaborative and the University of Colorado, Colorado Springs to expand to the Rocky Mountain Region
- The first Mountain West Seed Summit was hosted in Sante Fe, NM with 200+ attendees
- RMSA and the Rocky Mountain Farmers Union, funded by a grant from the McCune Charitable Foundation, hosted a 3-day Mountain West Seed Summit in Santa Fe, NM early next March 2017.
- This conference and forum was the first gathering of RMSA's Seed Stewards!
- The event focused on training, educating, and inspiring farmers and seed growers to initiate or expand on-farm seed production. There were guest presentations, workshops, and hands-on activities.
- Partners: Family Farmers Seed Cooperative, the Traditional Native American Farmers Association, Emigdio Ballón of Tesuque Pueblo.
- Million Seed Saver campaign, a collaboration between Collective Eye Films and Rocky Mountain Seed Alliance, was launched with the goal of creating one million new seed savers across the United States.
- Grain School programs were added to the organizational offerings, modeled after Seed School, but focusing specifically on grains
- Seed School Teacher Training added to to the offerings to support seed savers in becoming teachers
- Seed patenting presentation at the 8th Session of the Governing Body of the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture
- Seed Saving for Farmers is offered online, specifically geared towards farmers growing for seed!
- Seed Saving for Farmers evolved into the online autonomous seed saving education program Seed School 101
- Seed Socials begin as a way to continue to foster connection and seed inspiration during the pandemic
- Development of Organizational Health and Justice Statement and Guiding Principles
- Organic Seed Growers Conference presentation
- Patent Free Seed Campaign formally launches
- We believe that plant utility patenting poses a risk to seed diversity and our seed freedom. We are raising awareness about this threat and mobilizing our communities to identify and boycott utility patented seeds.
- Seed School and Grain School online are launched to adapt to pandemic realities and to procure an accessible online format to seed saving education
- Heritage Grain Trials - Kitchen Trials was launched to develop greater knowledge around baking with grains that were part of the trials.
- Organic Seed Growers Conference presentation
- Rocky Mountain Heritage Grain Trials: Grassroots Research to Identify Grains of the Past for Food Systems of the Future
- For the past six years, Rocky Mountain Seed Alliance (RMSA) has been working with a grassroots network of nearly 200 grain growers in diverse locations throughout the Western U.S. (and beyond) in trialing over 250 varieties of ancient and heritage cereal and alternative grains. Through grassroots trials, the 20 most adaptive and resilient varieties of wheat, barley, and rye were identified and further assessed in organic farming systems through randomized replicated block design at four research sites. Data on field performance and yields was collected, and lab analyses were conducted on grain quality and baking performance. Seed for these varieties has been scaled up through the project and offered to growers and farmers freely in the spirit of the Seed Commons. This presentation will include the voices of grassroots trialists and research partners who participated in the project.
- RMSA founders transition away from the organization and we begin composting previous organizational norms
- New Staff and Board Members support the transition from founding leadership to a completely new leadership body
- Bi-weekly Paradigm Shift meetings prompt new structural definitions within the organization to be non-hierarchical and decentralized
- New Policies and Procedures are developed to nourish the soil of our organization
- Focus shifts from external programming to internal organizational development
- Seeds are being planted for improved and inclusive Seed Saving Education programs and supporting staff to organize value-driven work in their home communities
- Sprouting up as SEEDS IN COMMON: Caring for Land, Water, People, and Seeds