2012 Grant for Native Seeds/SEARCH
For many years Amaterra and members have supported Native Seeds/SEARCH, a non-profit conservation organization based in Tucson, Arizona.
Since 1983, they have become a major regional seed bank and a leader in the heirloom seed movement. Their seed bank is a unique resource for both traditional and modern agriculture. It includes 1800 varieties of arid-land adapted agricultural crops, many of them rare or endangered. They promote the use of these ancient crops and their wild relatives by distributing seeds to traditional communities and to gardeners world wide. Currently they offer 350 varieties from the collection grown out at their Conservation Farm in Patagonia, Arizona. Also, many of their seeds and associated products are offered through an online store, annual seedlisting, and retail store.
During the past couple of years, Bill McDorman, the Executive Director of Native Seeds Search, and Belle Starr, the Deputy Director, have instituted and conducted a number of one-week Seed Schools in Tucson, drawing people from all over the country. Their goal: “to inspire and empower a diverse selection of new ‘seed citizens’–passionate growers, inventive breeders, and careful curators of the planet’s tiny life-conducting jewels.” The passion of these two individuals for seeds is awe-inspiring.
Because the Tucson Seed Schools have become so popular, there is now a need to widen the program and conduct the schools in locations throughout the United States, as many participants at the Tucson school have asked that Bill and Belle come to their state to do so–particularly in light of the drought that is affecting so much of the country. This will require new curriculum to include information for a wider range of growing areas.
For those who would like to learn more about the organization, check out their website www.nativeseeds.org/.
This grant was arranged by Amaterra Director, Nancy Wall.