North Carolina Botanical Garden


Virtual Annual Jenny Elder Fitch Memorial Lecture:
Heirloom Seeds - Saving Stories, Preserving Biodiversity

with Ira Wallace, Worker/Owner of Southern Exposure Seed Exchange, Author


The registration period has closed for this event.

Sunday, November 1, 2020

2:30 PM-4:00 PM

Free; preregistration required

Interest in growing organic and sustainable gardens has skyrocketed during the pandemic, evidenced by shortages of seeds and vegetable starts. Join us as visionary seed saver, storyteller, and former NCBG volunteer Ira Wallace explores how tradition, taste, place, and storytelling work to preserve biodiversity, regional food traditions, and seed saving. She will share stories of seeds and the gardeners who save them for great heirloom varieties like Greasy beans, Cherokee Purple, and Radiator Charlie’s Mortgage Lifter tomatoes.


“My experiences at the NCBG along with the down home wisdom and skills of observation I learned from my grandmother made my growing interest in organic gardening and seed saving for garden vegetables, flowers and herbs seem manageable.”  Ira Wallace




Please note, this program will be delivered in a virtual format. The lecture will be offered via Zoom Webinar. Links for accessing the program will be emailed to participants in advance of the program.





Registration ends: 11/1/2020 12:00 PM

About the Speaker

Ira Wallace is a worker/owner of the cooperatively managed Southern Exposure Seed Exchange ( which offers over 700 varieties of open-pollinated heirloom and organic seeds selected for flavor and regional adaptability. Ira serves on the boards of the Organic Seed Alliance, and the Virginia Association for Biological Farming. She is a member of Acorn Community which farms over 60 acres of certified organic land in Central Virginia. Ira is an organizer of the Heritage Harvest Festival at Monticello, [] a fun, family-friendly event featuring an old-time seed swap, local food, hands-on workshops and demos, and more. She also writes about heirloom vegetables and seed saving for magazines and blogs including Mother Earth News, Fine Gardening and Southern Exposure. She is author of the Timber Press Guide to Vegetable Gardening in the Southeast.  Her new state specific book series including, Grow Great Vegetables in North Carolina, are available online and at booksellers everywhere


Ms. Wallace is the author of Timber Press Guide to Vegetable Gardening in the Southeast and Grow Great Vegetables in North Carolina.

“This ultimate local guide to growing vegetables and other edibles provides you with insider advice on climate zones, average frost dates, and growing season details across North Carolina. Information includes details on sun, soil, fertilizer, mulch, water, and the best varieties for your region. A garden planning section helps with design and crop rotation, and monthly lists explain what to do from January through December. In-depth profiles of nearly 50 edibles round out the information and help ensure a can't-miss harvest.” Timber Press on Grow Great Vegetables in North Carolina

About the Fitch Lecture

Named in memory of Jenny Fitch, local plant enthusiast and passionate gardener, the Jenny Elder Fitch Memorial Lecture takes place each fall. Mrs. Fitch passed away in 1995. The endowment for the lecture series was graciously donated by her husband, R.B. Fitch, in 1997 after friends and family sent scores of memorial gifts to the Garden. We have been able to bring a renowned gardener or horticulturist to Chapel Hill each year since 1999 to present the Jenny Fitch lecture.

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Ira Wallace


This program will be offered online via Zoom Webinar. More details will be provided a few days before the event.