Spring is coming and with the longer days and budding trees farmers and home gardeners alike are planning the upcoming planting season. The Willamette Valley prides itself on having the nation’s most diverse crop varieties with over 170 individual foods grown locally throughout the year. The Valley also offers diverse resources for organic, non-GMO, sustainably raised seeds. Seed breeding, preservation, and storage are labors of love, and the farmers who have dedicated their lives to it do so with a sense of mission and humanitarianism.
While there are large-scale seed banks that can be tapped in the event of a major catastrophic event, having local farmers growing hundreds of food and herb seeds empowers the Willamette Valley to ensure its own food security. The fact that these farmers are growing non-GMO, open pollination seed also means that you can participate in your own personal seed-saving program.
Featured here are four local seed producers that sell to both farmers and garden enthusiasts alike.
Adaptive Seeds is located in Sweet Home. Founders Sarah Kleeger and Andrew Still are seed-saving experts and have traveled all over the world, from Romania to Italy as seed ambassadors. Currently, 80 percent of their seed is grown on their own farm, and their mission is to encourage individuals to become seed savers and participate in a global food security initiative. For a seed list, visit http://www.adaptiveseeds.com.
The Thyme Garden, located in Alsea, is a family run farm that specializes in cultivating organic, non-GMO seeds for culinary, medicinal, and aromatic herbs. They grow over 700 varieties on 80 acres of land, and they run a salmon conservation and recovery program. Visit their website (www.thymegarden.com) for details about their Earth Day Festival, Mother’s Day Celebration, weekly tours and luncheons, and their seed catalog.
Peace Seeds and Peace Seedlings are owned and operated by two generations of the Kapuler family; their seed farms are located right here in Corvallis. The Kapulers were featured in our Aug. 29 and Dec. 12, 2012 issues—their mission is to increase food variety and preserve heirloom seeds for our community. For their 2013 seed catalogs, visit http://peaceseedslive.blogspot.com.
Wild Garden Seed is also here in Corvallis. They are known coast to coast for their organic, hearty seed crops. Wild Garden Seed grows hundreds of crop variety seeds in collaboration with Gathering Together Farm, which hosts its breeding seedling nurseries. For seed lists, visit http://www.wildgardenseed.com.
by Maria Murphy