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Grassroots Seed Network (GSN)—Sharing Seeds,
Preserving Varieties, Democratically
By Jamie Chevalier, former horticulturist
and catalog editor at Bountiful Gardens,
owner of Quail Seeds and Grassroots Seed Network board member

Grassroots Seed Network Logo

Today many people understand the importance of heirloom seeds. There is a growing seed-saving movement, with seed libraries and seed swaps increasingly common. But one piece of seed restoration is still missing—the seeds themselves. While a few well-known heirlooms are offered commercially and grown coast-to-coast, the vast majority of our seed heritage is vanishing with the elderly gardeners and farmers who have preserved it thus far. Where is the bridge between urban seed libraries and the isolated communities where rare seeds still exist? How can young enthusiastic gardeners meet elderly seed stewards—often the last remaining guardians of rare varieties? Grassroots Seed Network exists to close that gap, putting those who save rare seeds in touch with those who would grow and care for them.

Heirloom corn varieties grown at VGfP. Photo: Evan MillsGenetic diversity is being lost at such a rate that we need to move quickly, and widely. The Grassroots Seed Network meets that need with its website. In order to include more elderly and immigrant seed stewards, and to recruit a new generation of seed savers, we have opened membership to all, free of charge. We provide logistical support for older seed stewards with major collections of seeds—sometimes hundreds of varieties are maintained by a single person. But to continue this work, and to widen its reach, we need your help. Whether or not you grow a garden, you can help grow a more diverse and abundant future with your contribution.

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