Collard Week

At the end of 2020, in collaboration with the Culinary Breeding Network we hosted four days of online collard-focused education and celebration. Below you can immerse yourself in food history, seed stewardship, gardening, farming, cooking and more, and join the conversation as part of the Heirloom Collard Project! 

Collard WeeK Table of Contents

Michael Twitty presents the History and Significance of Collards in the South

Ira Wallace & Co. present Results and Updates from the 2020 HEIRLOOM COLLARDS TRIAL

Jon Jackson leads a Collard Trial Farm Tour of Comfort Farms

Amirah Mitchell presents Seedkeeping and Cultural Identity

Ashleigh Shanti presents a 4-Way Collard Salad Cooking Demo

A celebration of collards and seeds and stories during the Collard Happy Hour!

Michael Twitty on collards

Michael Twitty presents The History and Significance of Collards in the South

Michael Twitty kicks off Collard Week with a talk about the historical, culinary and cultural heritage of collards in the South followed by a Q&A.

Speaker Bio: Michael Twitty is author of The Cooking Gene, a James Beard Award winner in 2018 for Book of the Year. Michael Twitty’s website, is a blog and so much more, highlighting much of Michael Twitty’s work and projects, which are devoted to African American historic foodways and their legacies. Follow Michael’s work on Instagram and Twitter.

IRa wALLACE & cO.  Present results and updates from THE 2020 hEIRLOOM COLLARDS tRIAL

  • Ira Wallace will share an overview of the Heirloom Collard Project.
  • Norah Hummel from Seed Savers Exchange and Nico Engelbert from SeedLinked will share preliminary results from the 2020 Collards Trial.
  • Collards across the USA – a visual showcase of collard trial participants.

Speaker Bio: Ira Wallace is an organic grower, author, speaker, visionary and worker/owner of the cooperative Southern Exposure Seed Exchange where she coordinates outreach, education, and new seed grower contracts. Ira serves on the boards of the Organic Seed Alliance, and the Virginia Association for Biological Farming. Ira is an organizer of the Heritage Harvest Festival at Monticello She was named a 2019 Great American Gardener by the American Horticultural Society. She is author of the Timber Press Guide to Vegetable Gardening in the Southeast.  Her new state specific book series including, Grow Great Vegetables in Virginia, are available online and at booksellers everywhere.

Jon Jackson Leads a collard trial farm tour of Comfort farms

Speaker Bio: Jon Jackson, a former US Army Ranger, started Stag Vets, Inc, operating at Comfort Farms where he says, “nothing grows in comfort.” Well aware of the trauma returning veterans face, Jon created a space for healing and connection through an approach he calls “Agro-Cognitive Behavior Therapy”.

Amirah Mitchell Presents seedkeeping and cultural identity

Wednesday December 16, 10 AM PST | 1 PM EST

Amirah Mitchell will teach us how to save seeds, with a focus on brassicas (Collards), and why it’s so important.

Speaker Bio: Amirah Mitchell has been working in agriculture and the food movement for over a dozen years, initially as a teen farm intern, team leader and board member at The Food Project in Boston, MA. She has since worked on urban farms in Massachusetts, Georgia and Pennsylvania, and delivers various agroecology workshops, including agroforestry, soil ecology, urban gardening, seed-keeping and more. Amirah is a practicing seed keeper of over two years, focusing on food crops of the African diaspora. Currently she is studying horticulture at Temple University and works at Greensgrow Farms and at Truelove Seeds.

Chef Ashleigh Shanti prepares a collard salad

Ashleigh Shanti Presents A 3-Way Collard Salad Cooking Demo

Ashleigh Shanti will lead a cooking demonstration and discourse on cooking with collards. Her 4-way Collard Salad celebrates the whole plant and includes raw collard leaves, pureed collard leaf dressing, quick-pickled collard stems and a collard chip garnish! We’ll share her recipe ahead of time so you can be prepared to cook along and enjoy the dish!

Speaker Bio: Ashleigh Shanti is Chef de Cuisine of Benne on Eagle in Asheville, NC. Working closely Chef Fleer, Ashleigh pays homage to the rich African-American culinary traditions that once thrived in The Block – the neighborhood surrounding the restaurant – as well as honoring her own history as a Southern, African-American female.  

Chef Ashleigh Shanti prepares a collard salad


Join a select group of collard loving guests for lively conversation and collard cocktails. The Collard Happy Hour is a chance for you to enjoy collards in community, share thoughts and recipes, and ask questions. We invite you to cook up your favorite collard dish (or follow Asheligh Shanti’s three-way collard salad), make a collard-orientated drink (suggestions here), and join the conversation.