The Long Island

Regional Seed Consortium

 A not-for-profit organization dedicated to education, advocacy, and research to foster and nurture local seed systems.


Without local seed production, local food is missing a critical and fundamental link in the chain.  We believe in the principle of seed sovereignty and open source maintenance of seed that is available to everyone.  It is the right of every person to save seed and improve on varieties as he/she sees fit.  Seed saving increases biodiversity through personal choice and agency.

The LIRSC was founded by Steph Gaylor, Ken Ettlinger and Cheryl Frey Richards. We work closely with breeders, farmers, chefs, gardeners and other organizations to spread the word about the importance of biodiversity, regional varieties and seed saving. Through various projects like The Long Island Cheese Pumpkin Project, the annual seed swap and the seed library initiative, we strive to bring the importance of a sustainable food culture to the forefront.

The LIRSC provides historical data and information about regional varieties. While some of these
varieties have been lost forever or on the verge of extinction, it is important to retain a record of them. The compilation of historical ephemera and
information is available to everyone; from scholars to school gardens. It is absolutely critical that a tangible written history be maintained so celebrated food culture can be passed on to future generations rather than being lost to time.

The LIRSC is honored to work with such collaborators such as the Long Island Native Plant Initiative.



Meet the LIRSC team

Ken Ettlinger - "The Professor"


Cheryl Frey Richards - "Agent Blitzen"

We need passionate good people to become part of the LIRSC team! 

Contact us to learn how you can participate!

Upcoming Events






Various funding entities can provide monetary support and other resources to bring your vision to life, whether it be community gardens to farms. From federal programs within the Farm Bill to state-specific options, a range of grants exists to support small, beginning farm ventures, as well as mini-grants that include everything from community gardens to school gardens. The key to a successful grant application is the same as a business plan: researching and writing out a strategic blueprint for your vision and the steps to successfully get there. This course will explore several of the options available for grant funding through local, state, and national platforms, in addition to instruction on writing a sample proposal. This course is meant for grants related to the Farm Bill. It will give you the skill set to explore grant writing. (1 meeting)

MARCH 10, 2018


Tuition: $45



Probiotics aren’t just for people anymore. In their natural environments, plants, trees, and turf grow in microbial rich environments. They are very dependent on their natural biology for nutrients and disease suppression, among other things. Advances with biologicals for disease and pest control have also dramatically changed organics and Integrated Pest Management (IPM) growing programs with new “silver bullet” products that kill the pest, not the rest. Although we supplement nutrients (fertilizers) in our farming practices, it is not a common practice to supplement the vital probiotics in the same manner. This course section will discuss why microbes are so important to soil health and how to integrate these natural probiotics to improve the quality, health, and growth of your plants. (1 meeting)

MARCH 17, 2018


Tuition: $45



Whether you are a gardener, farmer, or someone who has an interest in plants, it's critical to understand the basics of botany. One of the goals will be to consider the basics of flower structure as it relates to plant breeding and seed saving and to begin to recognize plant families by the patterns that we see. This lab workshop will be led by experts from the Long Island Seed Consortium. (1 meeting)

MARCH 24, 2018

12 pm- 3pm

Tuition: $45





 Introduce yourself to Long Island's pollinators including bumble bees, leafcutter bees, mason bees, squash bees, and even flies! There are close to 450 different bee species in New York State - these are the superheroes of our gardens and farms. Wild bees are 2-3 times more effective at pollinating than honeybees. Honeybees supplement the work of wild bees, not the other way around.  Join our veteran beekeeper to discuss why and specifically which gentle pollinators will be most advantageous for higher yields and larger, more well-rounded produce.  Specific actions you can take to put more food on your table and support bee populations (e.g., flowers to plant, types of habitat to provide, and advanced bee ranching efforts) will be discussed. You will be provided with a bee bundle kit for the course. (1 meeting)

APRIL 7, 2018


Tuition: $4