Unbeknownst to many there is growing movement that taking part in country after country, which has the potential to fundamentally improve your life – The Seed Exchange. A seed exchange is a great way to get free or low cost seed. It is also a way to get seed that you can’t buy anywhere else, or a rare heirloom that no one can find ‘anywhere.’ More importantly it gives people the opportunity to connect with like minded individuals, who share a common passion of growing ones own food.
What Is It?
For years swapping seeds has been expanding the collection of farmers and gardeners – and now it’s going mainstream. Each exchange works a bit differently but in general, gardeners collect seed, either from their garden or from the wild and then splits up the seed into smaller packets and makes them available to other growers.
“Saving seed is about keeping the circle unbroken, nurturing the spark of life and passing it on. Our seeds tie us to the past. With them we preserve the future. In the simple sacred act of saving seeds, we become the stewards of thousands of years of plant evolution.”
—Sue Smith-Heavenrich, 1995
It is important to note, that while some seeds can be grown all over the country, many plants will be particular suited for a specific grow zone in the country you live. There are many unusual heirlooms, for example peanuts or southern peas, corn, collards, okra, roselle, turnip greens, and butterbeans that require specific climate to thrive. When a seed exchange takes place in the same grow zone, your chances of getting seeds that will grow well where you live can only go up.
Storage of seeds is another very important factor. When it comes to cold storage, we here at ACIT are professionals and when it comes to seed, keep the following in mind: The best seed storage areas are air conditioned, refrigerated, or frozen for long-term viability. Professionals also dehumidify both seed curing and seed storage areas to prolong seed viability.
How Do I Get Involved?
There are several ways to get started, here are a few: 1. Find a seed exchange online 2. Join a Seed exchange ‘society’ 3. Simply start your own! Below are a sample of online resources to help you on your way. Please do let us know in the comments if you have started or are a member of a seed exchange. Happy hunting.