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Event Details

Join Land to Hand MT for this free, educational & family-friendly event about community food systems!

Free The Seeds returns to the Flathead Valley on Saturday, March 2, for the 9th year of interactive workshops, activities, seed sharing, and more. This event will run from 9am to 3pm in FVCC’s Arts and Technology Building (745 Grandview Dr, Kalispell, MT). The theme for 2024 is Tiny Seeds, Big Impact!

Seed Giveaway – Grab a Garden Starter Seed Bundle in the Black Box Theater or go downstairs to rooms 144 A&B to wait in line to pick out specific seeds.
*144 A&B have the same seeds – only enter 1.*

Keep scrolling for the Workshop Schedule, Descriptions, and Zoom Registration Links.

Click here for our Frequently Asked Questions.

Workshop Schedule

All workshops will be located upstairs in the North wing of the building. Turn left upon entering and then take a right to get to the hallway that has rooms 202 – 209. There will be a Workshop Info Table located near that hallway if you have any questions related to workshops. Please check in with the Workshop Info Table to sign up to receive OPI Renewal Credits for attending workshops (for K-12 teachers).

There is no registration required for in-person workshops. You must register for remote participation via Zoom.

Scroll down for Workshop Descriptions.

2024 Workshop Schedule by Land to Hand MT

Schedule subject to change.

Workshop Descriptions

(Listed alphabetically.)

All About Land to Hand MT with Gretchen Boyer

  • Learn about the organization behind Free The Seeds! Land to Hand has many other programs in Education and Food Access throughout the year and all around Flathead Valley.

Building A Resilient MT Food System with Robin Kelson of AERO/Abundant MT

  • Did you know that up until 1950 Montana produced 70% of its own food? Today that number is down to 3%. This workshop describes the collaborative efforts occurring here in the Flathead Valley and around the state to rebuild our local food system. Together, we’ll brainstorm ways you can work in your sphere of influence to get 33% Montana-grown food on all Montana plates by 2033!

Building Soil While Raising Great Wool with Carol Treadwell-Steitz of Steitzhof Merinos

  • By utilizing regenerative farming practices including short duration, rotational grazing, Steitzhof Merinos has experienced tremendous improvements in the pastures grazed by their flock of 35 naturally colored Merino Sheep. In this presentation we will show examples of the simple but effective regenerative farming practices utilized to improve the pastures at Steitzhof. We will also discuss the value of wool as a natural garment choice, the soil to soil concept as it relates to the life cycle of a wool garment, and how folks can reduce their carbon footprint by choosing carbon beneficial clothing. Tiny flock, big impact!

Coloring With Natural Pigments with Barnes of Montana Survival Seed

  • Join Barnes for a hands-on workshop focused on using natural, non-toxic pigments in combination with materials such as glue, rock powders, oils, and water to create different mediums for artistic creativity. Participants will have the option to use the pigments on postcards, many of which already contain original line drawings of the natural world.

Flower Hammered Handkerchiefs with The Skola

  • Join educators and students from The Skola to try your hand at a natural dye craft! Students learned about dye during a recent project where we were able to process our own amount of sheep’s wool, and they are eager to teach others! We will be creating flower pounded handkerchiefs for use as decoration and accessory! Natural dyes have been used for centuries and are an accessible way to create art or give fabrics new life from our own kitchen or garden. Come to learn about the fabric preparation process, arrange your unique floral landscape, and hammer away!! Each handkerchief will be unique. We hope to see you there!

Garden Like a Pro with Ted Wycall of North Shore Farm

  • Do you want to get a BIG impact from those LITTLE seeds? This presentation will be a comprehensive overview of how to set up and grow a successful organic vegetable garden just like the pros. We will discuss how to lay out and form beds, prepare the soil, whether to plant seeds or transplants, whether to use drip or sprinkler irrigation, mulching, how to fertilize effectively and efficiently, how to use compost, general crop care, and some other tools and techniques that will take your gardening to the next level.

Garden Storytime with ImagineIf Libraries

  • Sing, dance, read, and explore with ImagineIf! Join us for this 1-hour gardening storytime where we will enjoy a selection of picture books, musical movement, and hands-on activities! This fun and interactive program is specifically designed for children ages 3-7, but everyone is welcome! Children must be accompanied by an adult.

Gardening for Wildlife with Naomi Alhadeff & Eliza Lindley of National Wildlife Federation

  • Join the National Wildlife Federation staff Naomi Alhadeff and AmeriCorps member Eliza Lindley to learn about the Garden for Wildlife™ program. Explore the benefits of native plant species and the roles they play in supporting native wildlife within our Montana environment. Learn to sustainably provide wildlife with food, water, cover, and places to raise young and how creating a wildlife garden is simply planting with purpose.

Growing More Food with Less Problems with Patti Armbrister of Agrarian Food Web

  • An organic gardening problem solving session, focusing on weeds, pests, water, soil health. We will discuss whatever you are challenged with. Bring your questions and Patti and other experienced gardeners present will answer as many as possible during the workshop. Our goal is to learn from the experienced gardeners and to grow more local food in the community.

Homemade Beeswax Food Wrappers with Leticia Justus

  • Learn how to make 100% cotton & natural beeswax wrappers for your kitchen and food needs. Fun, economical & easy.

How ’bout them Apples! with Mark Cometti of Flathead Permaculture

  • Fruit trees complement the garden by providing a perennial food supply that can produce for generations to come. Learn practical tips on picking the right trees, planting, growing, and pruning, harvesting, storage and more. Join Mark from Flathead Permaculture as he shares his simple & holistic approach to bringing in high quality fruit with extraordinary flavors, for our year-round enjoyment!

Introduction to JADAM Organic Farming with Matthew Kyle of Moonlight Farm

  • Introduction to JADAM-Organic Farming. Learn how to make your own all natural microbial inputs and fertilizers! It’s so EASY and we will show you how! You will leave with confidence and knowledge to make your own microbial inputs! You will have the knowledge to make your own fertilizers from the weeds you pull out of the ground and/or plants you grow

Is Beekeeping For Me? with Angela Tollerson of Flathead Valley Beekeepers Association

  • Introduction to beekeeping pros and cons, equipment costs, and pollinator friendly practices.

Kids and Soil Life Coloring Book Activity with Patti Armbrister of Agrarian Food Web

  • This is a hands on workshop for all ages from 4 and up. Kids will learn about soil life through coloring and interacting with an original black and white coloring book about various organisms that live in soil.

Learn to Love Lentils with Julie Laing of Twice as Tasty

  • Lentils are the ultimate tiny seeds with a big impact. In this workshop, Julie Laing, author of the Flathead Beacon’s Twice As Tasty column and The Complete Guide to Pickling, will share some of her favorite lentil recipes and preparation techniques. She’ll talk about incorporating lentils into your diet and how to sprout, ferment, and cook them. She’ll share ways to sneak them into meals or make them the focal point, from crispy snacks, to dips and dosas, to soups and meatless main dishes.

Let’s talk about SEEDS with Pam Gerwe of Purple Frog Gardens

  • Let’s explore some of the amazing magic of SEEDS! We will look at different seeds through magnifying glasses, exploring the various shapes, textures, and even flavors of seeds. We will explore some of the ways that seeds spread. Then we’ll make and label origami envelopes to hold seeds. Finally, we’ll ‘winnow’ (clean) some seeds for everyone to take home to plant and share, including dill, orach, (a vibrant red salad green) and ‘frosted explosion’ (a decorative grass).

Making Fresh Bread and Noodles at Home with Corky Warwick and Leticia Justus

  • Students will learn how to make basic bread dough and homemade egg noodles.

Microgreens 101 with Valerie Thrasher of Box of Rain Organic Garden Center

  • Learn everything you need to know about growing these small sprouts that have a big nutritional boost to your dishes!

Promoting Native Mason Bees with Steve Glutting

  • Blue Orchard Mason Bees: The early-spring “Native” super-pollinators, facts, promotion and culture.

Seeds are Genetic Dreams with Barnes of Montana Survival Seed

  • This workshop will explore the importance of WHY to save seed and inspire participants to save their own seeds. We have zero National security, food security, homeland security, community security, financial security UNLESS we have SEED SECURITY, and GMO and chemical use is never the answer. GMO alters, displaces, and erases “our” genetic code with a laboratory science with zero memory. The genetic code is a massive memory index of dreams, experiences, and generations of life being erased for money, not the progress of life on the planet. Without AWARENESS, nothing changes, adapts, or becomes real.

Seizing Opportunities for Clean Energy Transition with Robin Paone of Citizens’ Climate Lobby

  • This presentation explores the crucial role of electrification in driving sustainable progress. From understanding the need for clean energy to exploring the immense opportunities it offers, this presentation provides a comprehensive overview. Learn about the overwhelming support for renewable energy, the concept of clean energy social tipping points, and the potential for achieving 100% clean energy and electrification by 2050. Gain actionable insights and inspiration to be part of the journey towards a cleaner, electrified future.

Small Seeds, Big Impact! with Whitney Pratt of Land to Hand MT

  • Join Whitney Pratt from Land to Hand Montana in learning about the how and why of seed saving. We’ll be discussing how small changes in gardening habits can result in big changes in terms of seed production and community resiliency in terms of seed and food production and sharing. Whitney will also share some simple tips and tricks for planning and implementing seed saving in your home garden.

Soil, Seeds, & Your Microbiome with Janna Hibler of The IV Element

  • Connecting the relationship between how the land and food affect your gut health, hormones, energy, metabolism, and mood.

Sticks to Strings: Creating with Plant Fibers by Ravenwood Outdoor Learning Center

  • After a short demo presentation of local plant fiber options such as dogbane, nettle, and cedar bark, we’ll teach a basic cordage technique and make simple bracelets with natural fiber materials. Participants can choose, based on their manual dexterity, patience, and skill level, whether to use wildcrafted dogbane sticks or commercial raffia palm fibers. We encourage family participation (it helps to have 2 or 3 people working together on each bracelet), but children can do this project on their own as well. Children younger than 10 will be strongly encouraged to use the raffia palm fiber.

Vertical Veg: A Trellis to Make You Jealous with Ellen Mering of 345 Farm

  • Do your tomato plants ever look like a bad hair day? Have your sugar snap peas ever fallen down like a tidal wave? If you answered YES, then this workshop is for you. Come learn easy, affordable ways to prune and trellis tomatoes, cucumbers, peas and pole beans in your garden or in containers on your patio.

Waste 2 Create with Justin Barry and Bobby OShaben from the New Makerspace

  • How can you CREATE from easily found materials?! Hands-on activities throughout the day where you can take home useful things you make! We will be making plant pots from recycled paper, making baskets from pine needles, weaving with retired ropes, and MORE! We are a group of artists and makers with a vision to establish a makerspace in the Valley. Come make something with us and learn about how we want to help our community CREATE.

What about potatoes? with Nancy Beech of Mountain Spring Farms

  • Why use certified seed potatoes when planting your potato crop? There are potato viruses, fungi, and bacteria out there that can severely impact your potato crop as well as your neighbors. The MSU Seed Potato Certification Program is one of the best programs in the NATION when it comes to identifying and providing solutions to combat potato disease and virus problems. Learn more about identifying potato diseases, potato variety selection and cultural practices plus more in this workshop.

Wheat & Your Health: Whole vs Refined with Luca Mele

  • Join me for an overview of a wheat kernel from layers to nutrients and the basics of the milling process. We will go over different types of flours, including their uses, nutrients, and their relationship to milling & wheat varieties. Finally, this workshop will dive into how this information and difference in nutrients relates to your health and we will have an open discussion about the anti-gluten movement.