10th National Heirloom Exposition

Learn from World-Class Experts at The Expo

Visitors to the National Heirloom Expo can learn from more than 30 nationally and internationally acclaimed speakers in lectures, panels, and roundtable discussion formats.  

2023 Speakers


Bevin Cohen – An author, herbalist, seed saver, and owner of Small House Farm in Michigan. He offers workshops and lectures nationwide on the benefits of living closer to the land through seeds, herbs, and locally grown food. Bevin is a freelance writer whose work has appeared in numerous publications, including Mother Earth News, Hobby Farms, Grit Magazine, and the Baker Creek catalog. He is the author of four books, including Saving Our Seeds, The Artisan Herbalist, and his highly anticipated new book, The Complete Guide to Seed & Nut Oils. You can learn more about Bevin’s work at Small House Farm.

Brijette Pena – Founder and owner of San Diego Seed Company, which offers dependable organic, regionally adapted seeds for gardeners, farmers, and market growers in southern California and the American Southwest. She founded the company in 2010 after recognizing a need for regionally adapted varieties and now grows on a certified, 5-acre organic farm in the Mount Hope area of San Diego. Brijette believes that urban farmers are the “wave of the future,” Her work with the Organic Seed Alliance and community growers focuses on sustainable and regenerative growing practices. https://sandiegoseedcompany.com/ 

Christy Wilhelmi – founder of Gardenerd, where she publishes newsletters and blogs, and podcasts. Her gardening obsession started on the balcony of her Los Angeles apartment in 1996; eventually, she became a member of Ocean View Farms Organic Community Garden in Mar Vista, CA, and served on its board of directors from 1998-2020. Christy specializes in small-space, organic vegetable garden design, consulting, and teaching. Most of her family’s produce comes from her small (less than 300 sqft) garden. She is the author of books including Gardening for Geeks, 400+ Tips for Organic Gardening Success, and her debut novel, Garden Variety, published in 2022. She loves to share her knowledge about organic gardening!  

Gibron Jones – Founder of HOSCO SHIFT and the North Sarah Food Hub (NSFH) in his home city of St. Louis. The nonprofit organization is focused on increasing access to healthy, local food and creating jobs and economic development in neighborhoods and communities that need it most. Since its launch two years ago, the NSFH has produced nearly 2 million meals and more than 2 million pounds of produce boxes. Their latest project: distributing more than 8,000 healthy meals to diabetic patients enrolled in a 36-week program at BJC Christian North East Hospital to lower patients’ A1C blood sugar levels. The program also provides nutrition education, meals, and meal kits for the whole family to encourage healthier eating.

Jeff and Sandy Bragg – Bragg’s are all about potatoes. A native of Idaho’s Magic Valley, Jeff’s extensive career has revolved around potatoes, from growing to consulting, marketing, and product development (he helped introduce more than 60 potato varieties into the world market). A few years ago, he walked away from the commercial potato industry to chart a new course: championing regenerative, sustainable potato farming and varieties that are more nutritious and lower in sugars – the kind of potatoes you won’t find in the supermarket. Jeff’s own health was also a catalyst for change. In 2011, he was diagnosed as having type 2 diabetes. As he dug into nutritional research, he realized that others could benefit from having access to nutrient-dense, low-glycemic potatoes. Through their company, Everything Potatoes, Jeff and Sandy sell about 25 varieties of double-certified (organic and pathogen-free) seed potatoes.  

Jeffrey Smith – One of the leading activists promoting non-GMO choices. Author and founder of The Institute For Responsible Technology

John Kohler – Host of the immensely popular YouTube channel Growing Your Greens, where he shares his boundless passion for gardening and healthy eating. Since 1995, John has been helping people sustainably grow high-quality food. John is a great friend of Baker Creek and always one of our most popular speakers!

Jon Jackson – Retired Army Ranger, director of the nonprofit STAG (Strength To Achieve Greatness), and founder of Comfort Farms near Milledgeville, Georgia. Since 2016, the farm has become a haven for veterans struggling to find their place and their peace back home. About 1.5 acres of the 35-acre farm is devoted to an intensive system of raised beds, which produce for market year-round. Jon has also been tracing his own story through genealogy and seeking heirloom seeds connected to his familial story and cultural roots.

Lauren Augusta, MESA – Lauren founded and serves as Executive Director of the Multinational Exchange for Sustainable Agriculture (MESA), the first U.S. State Department-designated training and cultural exchange program to promote sustainable agriculture. She has worked in the nonprofit and agriculture sectors since 1985. During the 2020 pandemic, Lauren initiated the launch of MESA’s Agroecology, Farming, and Food Pathways (AFFP) program, which brings historically underserved beginning farmers, gardeners, and learners together to foster community and career pathways in agroecology. Lauren believes in the power of connection to build healthy communities through sustainable farming and food systems.

Makeda Dred – Executive Director and Founder of the WorldBeat Cultural Center for 30 years. She has produced programs and presented artists from wide cultural genres represented within the cultural center. Makeda has received numerous awards for her service to the community. Most notably and recently, Makeda Cheatom was recognized by the Women’s Museum of California as a Cultural Competent Bridge Builder. In 2012 she was inducted into the San Diego County Women’s Hall of Fame.

Nelson Campbell – On the heels of writing and directing the 2015 documentary PlantPure Nation, Nelson Campbell founded PlantPure Communities (PPC) in early 2016. Released in theaters in over 100 cities, the PlantPure Nation film (now on YouTube and Amazon Prime) examines the political and economic factors that suppress information about the benefits of plant-based nutrition and makes connections to public policy, medical practice, food deserts, and farming.

Rory Feek – Musician, author, and storyteller may be best known for his duet work with his late wife, Joey, who died of cancer in 2016, and for his journey as the single parent of a special needs child. He lives on Hardison Mill Farm, a 100-acre homestead near Columbia, TN.

Sara Patterson – Sara and Symbria Patterson are the duo behind Red Acre Farm, a biodynamic farm in the Cedar Valley of Utah, and the founders of Red Acre Center. This nonprofit organization promotes and protects farmers, small rural and urban farms, and people’s right to choose what they eat.

Stephen Silverbear McComber – A traditional Haudenosaunee elder from the Mohawk community of Kahnawake in Quebec, Canada. He is a member of the Bear Clan and a faith keeper and manager of spiritual, traditional ceremonies at the Mohawk Trail Longhouse. Stephen is also a celebrated artist and has received The Canada Council for the Arts Award twice. As a traditional Haudenosaunee seed keeper, he has shared his knowledge with international audiences. Since 2007, he has worked as a native elder for Corrections Canada. He is also the proud grandfather of 12 grandchildren.

Steven MurrayMurray Family Farms, an organic farm in Bakersfield, CA, where he grows about 700 species of more than 3,000 varieties of fruit. His family has deep roots in agriculture, and theirs was one of the first California farms to grow cherries. Over the years, Murray Family Farms has become a popular destination in Kern County. Steven has fond childhood memories of going to farmer’s markets with his parents and asking for rare fruits from neighbors. He has traveled to nearly 100 countries looking for rare and exotic fruits and participates in about 40 markets across southern California.  

Wendi Pham – Wendi took a deep interest in gardening at a young age. When she outgrew her outdoor space, she began to create for the indoors. Plants are like an extension of her family — they are given lots of love, nurturing, and nourishment to build a strong foundation to grow happily when they get to your home.

William Woys Weaver – Internationally known food ethnographer and author of 20 books dealing with culinary history and heritage seeds. He is the founder of The Roughwood Table, a non-profit organization devoted to heritage foods from heritage seeds.


If you are interested in being involved or want to share ideas about who should be, please fill out this form or contact us at [email protected]