Kent A. Whealy Archive
Ceres Trust is pleased to curate the Kent A. Whealy Archive, a resource of writings, speeches and photos by and about Kent Whealy (April 27, 1946–March 23, 2018), documenting his persistent and passionate work over more than three decades to secure and maintain the genetic variability of our vegetable crops, turning curiosity, vision, and hard work into the celebrated Seed Savers Exchange (SSE). Beloved by gardeners, lauded by scientists, the SSE became the country’s largest non-governmental seed bank, growing into a collection of 26,000 varieties of vegetables. Besides maintaining the collection on 23 acres of organic gardens, Kent also made the best of them available again to gardeners and greatly expanded the trade in open–pollinated seed through his inventories. In securing seeds from a rich slice of time and cultures, Kent made available an unprecedented array of exceptional varieties to gardeners and breeders alike.
An organizer, a cataloger – as he called himself – with a deep appreciation for diverse cultures, Kent was able to bring together the myriad seed savers he found around the country into a cohesive whole. Their treasured seeds, together with the seeds he secured from rapidly disappearing seed houses and the irreplaceable seeds he obtained from ancient agricultural communities in Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union through seed collecting expeditions he sponsored, formed a major element of the agricultural flowering we enjoy today. That Kent’s labor of love bore rich fruit cannot be doubted.
As a trustee of Ceres Trust, which he joined in 2009, Kent was able to further his work in the genetic preservation of food crops and reinforce his opposition to the genetic modification of plants and the use of toxic chemicals in agriculture. Kent was a strong believer in the idea that any one person could make a meaningful change in the world and he felt it his responsibility to do so. His dedication, vision, and exemplary leadership were an inspiration to countless people. The exceptional effort made by this exceptional man is documented here.
Writing by Kent Whealy