Reading Dirty Catalogs

Seeds of Change packets

It's hard to tell now with a fresh blanket of snow on the ground, but this is garden planning season. Days are getting longer and the Spring Solstice is less than a month away. Farmers and gardeners, even rank amateurs like myself, are excitedly thumbing through seed catalogs and websites, anticipating that day when seedlings can brave the elements. Our average last frost date is still months away, but there are seeds to start so I decided to tour Seeds of Change to find out what is happening in the world of organic seeds.

Seeds of Change is one of a very few seed companies selling only 100% Organic seeds to gardeners and commercial growers. Founded in 1989, Seeds of Change has worked with organic growers to develop over 1200 hybrid, heirloom and traditional varieties of organic seeds. With a humming array of Rube-Goldbergian machines and hands-on methods they dry, sift, sort and package seeds in packets holding fractions of an ounce to 50 pound bags. From their Santa Fe warehouse Seeds of Change ships vegetable, fruit, herb, flower and cover crop seeds to catalog shoppers, farmers and retail garden shops worldwide. They also run a research farm along the Rio Grande River in El Guique, NM where they evaluate organic seed lines.

Why does it matter if the seeds you plant are 100% organic? If you garden (or farm) using organic methods (no artifical pesticides or fertilizers) then planting seeds that grew and thrived under similar 'low-input' conditions is a wise choice. As well, recent research indicates that use of synthetic fertilizers reduces soil fertility, organic matter and carbon sequestration. Simply, organic farming builds and improves the soil while 'conventional' farming depletes it. Growing organic heirloom seed varities also preserves biological diversity and the genetic database of our food crops.

The Seeds of Change mission is 'to preserve biodiversity and promote sustainable, organic agriculture'. They do this by supporting organic growers, preserving and distributing organic seed varities, and educating gardeners and farmers. I'm glad that Seeds of Change is here, helping to make my garden and my diet more sustainable. Now I need to start a tray of veggie seedlings!

More Info:

Seeds of Change

Organic Seed Alliance

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