Project Description

Seed Savers Exchange is an association created in 1975 which aims at conserving rare, heirloom and open-pollinated varieties. It favors seeds exchange among gardeners by means of the “Yearbook”, a printed and online publication containing the varieties of the collection. Seed Savers Exchange also offers training courses to gardeners and has been involved in setting up a “Seed community network” in collaboration with Unitarian Service Committee Canada, an online platform aimed at favoring networking among seed initiatives. The platform offers both an online map of seed initiatives and resources on seed saving techniques, organizational and legal aspects.

Seed Savers Exchange also sells seeds through a catalogue in its shop and online. The association has a farm called “Heritage Farm”, 890-acre farm. They multiply 1000 varieties annually. This space welcomes between 12,000 and 14,000 visitors each year.

Among the Seed Savers Exchange staff, one seed historian researches and collects historical information about the varieties in the collection, and two staff members evaluate the varieties as regards agronomical and taste properties. These activities create knew knowledge about the varieties, which is included in the Yearbook and catalogue descriptions.

Seed Savers Exchange members are involved also in the evaluation of the collection entries through a citizen-science core program. This allows sharing the evaluation effort beyond the staff and evaluating varieties under a wider range of soil and weather conditions.

Seed Savers Exchange also has working relationships with small-scale seed companies and public and independent breeders.

Case study info

Country: United States

Type of case study: association

Crop category: arable, vegetables