For some of you, this is your first visit to Heritage Farm. We want to welcome you and hope that you to feel at home while you’re here. Indeed, Heritage Farm is owned by the Seed Savers Exchange, and our members paid off Heritage Farm’s mortgages in only five years, so we really want you to feel like this is your home, too. While you’re here, I hope that each of you has time to wander through all of this summer’s gardens – which have never been more beautiful or more extensive – and keep in mind that all of Heritage Farm’s genetic preservation projects are supported by your membership fees, donations and purchases from Seed Savers catalogs of Heirloom Seeds and Gifts.Read More
This grant proposal will examine the following problems and their solutions:
1. Counteracting current trends that are destroying the genetic diversity of our food crops, and how gardeners and farmers working together can rescue and maintain what remains of these irreplaceable biological resources.
2. Developing an exemplary model farm project which will act as a catalyst to quickly effect the changes that are described in this proposal.
3. Demonstrating alternative crops, and workable organic techniques that will stop gardeners and farmers from using chemical sprays and fertilizers.
It has been almost exactly a year since the Seed Savers Exchange purchased Heritage Farm to provide a permanent location for our genetic preservation projects. I knew that it was a gamble for our small but rapidly growing organization to attempt extensive projects at this stage of its growth. But so much genetic diversity is being lost right now that we really had no other choice. Some decisions are beyond reasoning, and you just have to jump in with both feet and give it your best shot. I always think of such episodes as “leaps of faith” and we have taken several together during the last 12 years, but this was by far the largest and most dangerous. Would we succeed in making Heritage Farm a reality, or would SSE be destroyed financially in the process? During this last year the necessary pieces have been falling into place so quickly and so perfectly that it’s spooky. This has definitely been a year of transition in many ways and I want to share with you the excitement of what has transpired.Read More
The Seed Savers Exchange has just purchased its Heritage Farm! For three years we have been searching for the perfect property to showcase the organization’s preservation projects. During that time we have commuted to and gardened on rented land, and the Whealy family and SSE office has been shuffled between a succession of rental properties that has made us wonder at times if we could hold everything together. But now, thanks to a tremendous vote of confidence and generous loan from the C. S. Fund, the SSE is the proud owner of the most beautiful 57-acre farm that I have ever seen.Read More
From SSE 1986 Harvest Edition. No wonder people question whether there is hope for the world. I deeply believe that there is hope, but it bothers me greatly when I see vast numbers of people giving up the struggle and becoming apathetic. That is as great a danger as any of the problems we face, because nothing is going to change without strong and deliberate action on a massive scale. I have thought long and hard about how individuals can make the greatest impact with their lives. There are a thousand good causes. But if you break your energy into a thousand pieces, you have nothing. Decide instead what one area holds the greatest interest for you, or where you feel you can do the most good with your life. And then focus all of the energy that you can muster on that one area and devote to it this short lifetime that we have been given. Become totally one-pointed, pace yourself so that you don’t burn out, and be careful not to spread yourself so thin that your efforts become ineffective. Believe me, you will be amazed at what you will accomplish.Read More
My name is Kent Whealy and I am the Director of a grass-roots network of backyard vegetable gardeners known as the Seed Savers Exchange. I have been working for the last 12 years to build this network of gardeners who are either keeping or interested in the preservation of older food crops. I appreciate the fact that you have invited me to speak to the National Plant Genetic Resources Board. I stand before you today with a great amount of respect, realizing full well that many of you have spent your entire professional careers working with and promoting genetic preservation.Read More
“I’d just like to thank all of our members for the tremendous amount of work that each of you puts into this inspirational project. Whether you realize it or not, this has turned into the largest search for endangered and unique plant material in the history of the United States. We are being praised from all quarters as an exemplary organization that other groups and projects are trying to emulate. We have every reason to be quite proud of our efforts.”Read More
This speech was given at the 1985 Seed Conference held on October 4-6 at the Missouri Botanical Garden in St Louis, Missouri. It was co-sponsored by the National Gardening Association ( formerly “Gardens for All” ) and the Missouri Botanical Garden. Funding for the Conference was provided by the Wallace Genetic Foundation, a branch of Pioneer Hi-Bred. The conference brought together the owners and directors of small alternative seed companies and preservation projects with representatives from the major seed companies.Read More
From 1985 Harvest Edition, Seed Savers Exchange · What in the world would ever cause two men and a boy to try to grow out over 2,000 varieties of garden plants on five acres? The main reasons were two seed collections totaling nearly 5,000 varieties, and the result was that most fantastic display of heirloom vegetable varieties that anyone has ever seen. We learned a tremendous amount from that garden this last summer. And we also used it to create more interest about heirloom varieties — through national publicity and locally with garden tours — than anything else we could have possibly done.Read More
My name is Kent Whealy and I’m the director of a non-profit organization of vegetable gardeners known as the Seed Savers Exchange. The Seed Savers Exchange is actually a preservation project which is trying to save what remains of our vanishing vegetable heritage. The majority of the vegetable varieties currently available to gardeners may be lost within a few short years unless drastic action is taken. We are actually working with two groups of seeds: heirloom varieties, which are seeds that are passed down from generation to generation within certain families; and also with commercial varieties, which are currently being dropped from seed catalogs. I would like to spend my time with you today telling you about how the Seed Savers Exchange got started, what we are trying to accomplish, what heirloom varieties are, the problems we all face relating to the loss of genetic diversity, and how we as backyard gardeners can help to turn the situation around.Read More