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...heirloom plants are OFTEN HARDIER, able to better withstand droughts, insects and other nuisances, and offer MORE FLAVOR and even DENSER NUTRIENTS than newer or overplanted varietals. Emphasizing heirloom varieties of vegetable, flour, herb, grain and cover crops that are best suited for the midAtlantic and southeast, Southern Exposure now works with over 70 small farms and roughly 700 varieties of seeds, and now sells roughly one million seed packets every year. By preserving heirloom varieties, the group helps to educate people on the importance of maintaining genetic diversity in our food crops. While some of these heirlooms may not be as productive as more modern varieties, heirloom plants are often hardier, better able to withstand droughts, insects and other nuisances, and offer more flavor and even denser nutrients than newer or overplanted varietals. Wallace notes that in the days before supermarkets, when people had to store foods to make it through the winter, those latter

two properties mattered quite a bit. Planting a diversity of vegetables also helps ward off large-scale disease; the Irish Potato Famine of the 19th century was caused in large part by the lack of diversity in the type of potatoes planted throughout the country. Wallace, a master gardener, grew up gardening alongside her grandmother in Florida. As a college student, she started an organic gardening co-op while studying native plants at New College in Sarasota, Florida. She learned early on that “people working together can do stuff,� which lead to her living in intentional communities stateside as well as internationally before arriving at Twin Oaks in Louisa County. In 1993, she helped found the nearby Acorn Community before becoming co-manager of the Seed

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Profile for Ivy Publications

Wine & Country Living Spring 2017  

Wine & Country Living Spring 2017