Available courses are taught by plant breeder and gardener, Joseph Lofthouse, and plant scientist, Dr James White. Additional teachers coming in 2022. 

How will this approach to growing food change your garden?

  • Plants become resistant to pests and diseases

    This method of gardening turns pests and diseases from problem into teachers that help your plants become strong. In the first year, you won't stress about them anymore, by the third year, your plants won't either.

  • Better flavor and more nutrition

    Commercial plant breeders have been selecting for high yields, but not flavor or nutrition. That is the reason for the decline in the nutritional value of our foods (not a decline in soil quality).

  • Use less water, no fertilizer, and no sprays

    Plants have an incredible ability to adapt to conditions in specific locations (over 2-3 generations), but if we keep buying seed from far away, we are never even giving them a chance.

The People Behind This Course

Click through the arrows on either side to see the team

Joseph Lofthouse

Guide

Joseph Lofthouse taught landrace gardening at conferences hosted by the Rocky Mountain Seed Alliance, National Heirloom Expo, Organic Seed Alliance, Northeast Organic Farming Association (NOFA-NY), and Utah Farm & Food Conference. He serves as World Tomato Society ambassador. Joseph is a sustenance market farmer and landrace seed-developer. At his garden in the Cache Valley in Utah, he grows seed for about 95 species, and is working to convert every species that he grows into adaptivar landraces. He is the author of the recent book Landrace Gardening, and is a popular speaker at farming conferences around the world. He has been growing landraces and selling seeds for a decade. He is dedicated to helping gardeners and farmers grow healthy plants with less stress. Farming Philosophy: Joseph's style of landrace gardening can best be summed up as planting many varieties together, then allowing them to promiscuously cross pollinate. Through a combination of survival-of-the-fittest and farmer-directed selection, arriving at a locally-adapted population with valued culinary traits. Joseph lives under a vow of poverty and grows using subsistence level conditions without using 'cides or fertilizers. He prefers to select for genetics that can thrive under existing conditions.

Dr James White

Instructor

Dr James F. White, is Professor of Plant Pathology. Dr. White obtained the M.S. in Mycology and Plant Pathology from Auburn University, Alabama, and the Ph.D. in Mycology from the University of Texas, Austin in 1987. Dr. White specializes in symbiosis research, particularly endophytic microbes. He is the author of more than 180 articles, and author and editor of reference books on the biology, taxonomy, and phylogeny of fungal endophytes. He and students in his lab are exploring diversity of endophytic microbes and the various impacts that they have on host plants. Primary Focus Area: Plant Protection and Biotic and Abiotic Interactions Secondary Focus Area: Sustainable Agricultural Systems

Julia Dakin

Course Creator

I have been in agriculture for most of my life, but wasn't able to start farming full time until three years ago. After many years of focusing on soil health, I felt like there was something missing in that approach. After reading Landrace Gardening and seeing first hand how much genetic variability plays into plant health and flavor, I decided to devote some time and energy into creating a learning experience that would give farmers and gardeners the information and confidence to get started on their own breeding project.

Testimonials

“I just want to tell you how impressed I am with the content of the course. When I read the Landrace Gardening book I was a mixture of impressed with the power of the content, and disappointed with a lack of feeling 'connected' with the living voice of the content. Having the videos of you talking to Joseph in your gardens brought the video to life for me in such an engaging way. Personally, I would pay for this course, even after having read the book. And I'm kinda stingy! ;)”

Skot Colacicco

“Taking the lessons and I’m very excited. It’s something that I was looking for but couldn’t even put it into words, as I didn’t know about landracing.”

Yana Samir

“I finished the course last night and the information is really excellent and a great value for the cost. As someone who loves growing and maintaining specific varieties it truly opened my eyes up to the benefits of more genetic diversity in my garden. I can't wait to start experimenting with a spinach landrace this year. ”

Jori Love

A Landrace Journey

The hopeful Gardener scans lots of catalogs in January and buys vegetable seeds for her garden.

Then comes August, and blight, blossom end rot, and insects kill most of her plants.

She blames herself: Was it not enough calcium in the soil, or inconstant moisture?

The following year she buys seeds to try again, but the same things happen.

She hadn't expected her garden to cause so much anxiety.

But the problem isn't actually the Gardener's fault. The farm where the seeds were grown used greenhouses, lots of fertilizer and organic pesticides.

After generations of the seed farmer not selecting for plants that do well outside in Organic gardens, the seeds no longer have what it takes to grow in natural conditions.

So her plants are very high maintenance, and she isn’t able or willing to do what the larger farms do. 

She realizes it's time for a change, and learns about growing Landraces.

So the next year she plants many varieties all together, and lets' them cross pollinate. Many plants die, some live, the Gardener doesn’t mind either way the first year, because she doesn’t have to spray, or fertilize, or look up diseases, and she has enough to eat.

She saves the seeds from the plants that survive.

By the third year, her garden has transformed.

She is eating lots of delicious tomatoes, giving seeds to her neighbors who complain of blight, and she doesn’t have to buy things to keep her garden healthy.

Life is much easier and more delicious.