SEED SWAP: Neal Osborne-Owens of Sweetie’s Cupcakes and Sweet Shoppe on Hambley chats with Seed Swap Co-Founder Joyce Pinson.
Medical Leader | Photo by TEDDY PAYNTER

Seed swap big success

Teddy Paynter

BUCKLEYS CREEK — Hundreds turned out for the opportunity to buy, sell and trade heirloom seeds and plants during the sixth annual Appalachian Seed Swap held at Pike County Central School on April 1.


It marked the third consecutive year that attendees topped 500.


“This year’s swap had folks from 10 states,” Event Co-Founder and Pikeville Farmers Market President Joyce Pinson said. “Renowned seed saver Lisa Bloodnick made the trip down from New York.”


Unlike some swaps, organized by academics for more scientific preservation, the local swap is a gathering of people.


“Our event is recognized as the largest seed swap east of the Mississippi,” she added. “We draw national attention in the sustainable agriculture community.”


Pinson enjoys being able to educate the region on seeds and the valuable resource they represent.


“Attendees come from all walks of life,” she said. “Kids in elementary school to seniors, the common thread being growing heirloom vegetables.”


Some of those on hand grow professionally, but most are “home-gardeners” looking to re-discover old varieties or discover something unusual.


“It’s just a great event for all of us,” Pinson said.


The seed swap is organized by volunteers from the Pikeville Farmers Market, with assistance from Pike County Extension Service.


“It is partially funded by a USDA Farmers Market Promotion Grant administered by the City of Pikeville,” Pinson said.


A number of classes were offered throughout the day on a broad variety of topics.


Attendees were able to look over products from the Pikeville Farmers Market, which will likely open in late May at its new pavilion location, adjacent to Hambley Athletic Complex.


The swap was founded by Neil Hunt, Cathy Rehmeyer, Charlie and Joyce Pinson.