Bill and Lee-Ann are passionate, self-proclaimed grain geeks who started the Rocky Mountain Heritage Grain Trials Program in 2016 at Rocky Mountain Seed Alliance after meeting at Grain School at Native Seed/SEARCH in 2012, where Bill and his wife, Belle, were co-Directors. After six focused years of trialing an expansive array of grain varieties, and connecting an enthusiastic network of grain growers through the Rocky Mountain Heritage Grain Trials, they are still and all the more “believers” in the importance of revitalizing heritage grains for the health of local food systems, as well as for the health of our soils, watersheds, and bellies.
Lee-Ann is a former Executive Director and Program Director of the Rocky Mountain Seed Alliance (RMSA; 2016 through 2021), where she delighted in sharing the magic of seeds and grains with both new and seasoned seed stewards. She holds a MA in Sustainability from Prescott College where she studied cultural ecology with a focus on bioregional food system security. After working on regenerative and traditional farms in Northern New Mexico and Costa Rica, Lee-Ann started a market farm called Laughing Wolf Farm in southwest Colorado where she ran a CSA (community supported agriculture) program for eight years, was a founding member of the Southwest Colorado Farm Fresh Coop, and integrates seed adaptation, water conservation, and landscape regeneration into her ongoing farm practices which are now focused on staple crops. At RMSA, Lee-Ann ran the educational programs including Seed Schools, Seed School Teacher Trainings, and Grain Schools. She produced the Mountain West Seed Summit, oversaw the Seed Stewards and Heritage Grain Trials programs. She is currently farming in Northern New Mexico and still growing grains, beans, and seeds to share at her farm in Colorado.
Bill McDorman has committed his life to community-based seed stewardship. For more than 40 years he has been a passionate and knowledgeable presenter who inspires his audiences about the importance of grassroots seed saving and urges everyone to learn to save their own seeds. Bill holds a B.A. in philosophy from the University of Montana.
In 1984 he started Seeds Trust/High Altitude Gardens, a bioregional, mail order seed company he ran successfully for 28 years. He authored the book, Basic Seed Saving, in 1994. In 2010, Bill and his wife Belle Starr founded Seed School, an internationally recognized education program with thousands of graduates from around the world that continues today.
In early 2011 Belle and Bill moved to Tucson, Arizona from the Verde Valley to serve as co-directors of Native Seeds/SEARCH until February 2014. In March of 2014 they were recruited with a friend, John Caccia, to start the Rocky Mountain Seed Alliance.
Along the way, Bill served on the Boards of Directors of the Arizona Humanities Council, Northwest Coalition for Alternatives to Pesticides and was Vice-chairman of the Idaho Humanities Council. He helped found and served on the Board of the Sawtooth Botanical Gardens in Ketchum, Idaho.
Bill gardens and lives in Cornville, Arizona (Verde Valley) with his wife Belle. He trials and tests ancient and heritage grains for the Heritage Grain Alliance. His personal seed list is available at CornvilleSeed.com.