Seed Fair draws garden enthusiasts

Lawrence resident Dana Parfitt had some ambitious garden plans growing as she collected more and more seeds Saturday at the second Kaw Valley Seed Fair.
“Wow,” said Parfitt as she thumbed through the small packets of asparagus, watermelon and zucchini seeds, just to name a few.
Parfitt, a Kansas University graduate student who recently moved to Kansas from Arizona, also chatted with some of the older, more experienced gardeners at the event, picking up tips about what will grow well in Lawrence soil.
“I’m still learning,” said Parfitt, who joined hundreds of garden enthusiasts at the Douglas County Fairgrounds, visiting vendor booths, listening to speakers and swapping gardening stories.
Dianna Henry, one of the fair’s founders, was all smiles when asked about the turnout.
“When we did it last year, it blew us away,” said Henry of the 300 visitors who stopped by for the inaugural event. Just a couple of hours into this year’s fair, Henry said it was clear they’d easily exceed those numbers this year.
“People are waking up to growing their own food,” she said.
The activities at the fair were designed to garner interest in local food, Henry said, as well as promote the Kaw Valley Seeds Project’s mission of building a reserve of local seeds for future generations. The group has garnered several local seed varieties, including white flower corn and pink plum tomato, and it hopes to continue building the reserve.
The project gained some supporters Saturday, such as first-time seed swapper Parfitt. After gathering some seeds and knowledge, Parfitt said she’ll head home and start her plants indoors in preparation for the growing season.
It’s definitely a lot more work than simply buying plants at the store, but Parfitt said she’s looking forward to the challenge.
“I think that this is more satisfying,” she said.
For more information about the Kaw Valley Seeds Project, visit