Sow True Seed was founded in 2009 with the central mission of developing a regional seed system with open-pollinated vegetable, herb and flower seeds. We saw ominous threats to the security and health of our food systems and recognized that seeds were the root of the power. That is why we offer seeds that are always open-pollinated, untreated and GMO-Free.
"Seed is not just the source of life. It is the very foundation of our being." ~Vandana Shiva
9 years later, we now steward and offer over 500 varieties of seeds - providing a kind of genetic bank to safeguard the biodiversity of our food supply, and especially those heirlooms indigenous to the Southeastern US. Every year we donate thousands of packets of seeds to hundreds of organizations with a food-based or educational mission. Last year the Carolina Farm Stewardship Association recognized us as Business of the Year. A large reason for this award was our energetic educational outreach, teaching free seed saving classes to hundreds of eager ears.
“Though I do not believe that a plant will spring up where no seed has been, I have great faith in a seed. Convince me that you have a seed there, and I am prepared to expect wonders.” ~HENRY DAVID THOREAU
In the past hundred years, 94% of our seed diversity has been lost. This infographic shows the number of commercially available seed varieties available in 1903 versus 1983...
Janisse Ray, seed activist and author, writes:
"Our seeds are disappearing.
When seed varieties vanish from the marketplace, they evaporate not only from collective memory but also from the evolutionary story of the earth. Seeds are more like Bengal tigers than vinyl records, which can simply be remanufactured. Once gone, seeds cannot be resurrected.
Goodbye, cool seeds. Goodbye, history of civilization. Goodbye, food.
A seed makes itself. A seed doesn't need a geneticist or hybridist or publicist or matchmaker. But it needs help. Sometimes it needs a moth or a wasp or a gust of wind. Sometimes it needs a farm and it needs a farmer. It needs a garden and a gardener.
It needs you."
At Sow True Seed, we want you to save your own seeds. We exist to support you in that en-devour. And while the system is changing and people are relearning, then Sow True Seed will save the seeds today so that we can all have a diverse tomorrow. We want diverse seeds grown by diverse people to create a robust and resilient food system.
As Elliot Coleman said, "Small farmers are a threat to the consolidation of absolute power."
At Sow True Seed we like to think we are too.
"Are we going to be able to save the diversity of food? In this David versus Goliath battle, do the bad guys win?" ~Janisse Ray
Our Seed Storage Facility
For those of you who have come to see us, you'll agree that Sow True Seed outgrew our little building on Church St. a good few years ago. Well, we're super excited to announce that the challenge to find a new place to call home is over. We are moving to a new, larger building just on the other side of Patton: 243 Haywood St, Asheville NC 28801.
The biggest reason for needing more space is our seeds. We currently have 545 varieties of seed available to buy with 150 varieties awaiting trialing and seed grow out! We take our seed quality very seriously, conducting external germination testing three times a year at a state run laboratory and we store our seeds in a climate (heat and humidity) controlled seed storage room. That room is currently a little on the small side...
The new seed storage facility that we are raising money for is going to be awesome:
- Larger: bigger isn't always better, but in this case we are going to double our storage capacity of climate controlled seeds. That means more varieties of seed (great for seed diversity) and also more quantity of seed (great for the small to medium farmers who need larger quantities).
- More Efficient: this is efficiency of space because one learns all the things they did wrong the first time round, so the second time can be awesome! It is also efficiency of energy with newer humidification and cooling technology. We are creating a vestibule entrance (like an airlock on Star Trek), we'll have insulated wall materials professionally put together to make sure our seeds stay cold with no energy wasted.
- Better Seed Preservation: a better facility means greater longevity for our seeds. This is really important when we take on rare or threatened varieties. Sometimes we become the sole steward of a seed and we take that role seriously. With this new facility we will never have to turn a seed away for lack of space.
A Realistic Budget
Here is a breakdown of what our new seed storage facility will cost:
- $13,200 in industrial wall panels built to restaurant and brewery standards to efficiently and effectively keep the warm air out and the cold air in.
- $8,700 for an industrially framed cooling and dehumidifying unit, which will be higher quality and more efficient.
- $4,350 in custom shelving. Switching from wooden to metal commercial grade shelving which will keep the room cooler with less energy and last longer.
- $3,800 for professional prep and installation fees as well as a licensed electrician for wiring and lighting.
- Plus permits, painting, particulars and a small margin for the unexpected!
That's $35,000, which is only 3,500 people donating $10 each! So, please help us smash our goal with a diversified funding base. Remember every little helps.
Some of our Rewards
- $35 Gets you our awesome Seed = Food T-Shirt.
- $50 You'll get an Heirloom Victory Garden Collection with 10 great varieties AND our Seed = Food T-Shirt
- Whole Garden Collection plus T-Shirt for $250
- Customized Seed Packets (multiple reward options depending on the size of your event/audience).
Thank you for watching and reading, and thank you for your support.
Much love from the Sow True Seed Team
Risks and challenges
Sow True Seed has proven to be a community leader in seed saving and seed stewardship. We take this role very seriously and intend to be offering a wide range of open-pollinated seeds for a long time. This new seed storage facility will allow us to continue our mission and to expand into new varieties of seeds.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (60 days)