Here is a list of organizations and groups dedicated to seed preservation and biodiversity. This is a small list, but these are sources that I have dealt with personally over the years. I can attest to their quality of intent and commitment to the broad availability of heirloom seed for gardeners and farmers across the globe.
- The Heritage and Landrace Grain Network
“The site is designed as a space where those who are engaged in all aspects of growing and working with heritage and landrace grains can communicate with each other in order to share seeds, share knowledge, collaborate on trials, look for rare varieties, and be part of the growing community of those who love these compelling crops and understand the importance of growing and preserving them.” – a quote from the founders
- KUSA Seed Society
Kusa is a great source for traditional “staple crop” seed including wheat, barley, millet, and lentils. They have been a primary source for many of the varieties I grow.
- Seed Savers Exchange
SSE has been around for a very long time. They were my first foray into the world of heirloom vegetables. They have a printed catalog and an online exchange where you can access thousands of varieties of vegetables, grains, flowers and herbs from growers across the US.
- Native Seeds/SEARCH
Native Seed/SEARCH maintains a wonderful selection of “Native American” heirloom seed. Their primary focus is on crops indigenous to the Southwest US and Northern Mexico. I have found many of their vegetable varieties to be well adapted to growing here in Northern Indiana.
- Seeds of Preservation Independence
- Medomak Valley High School Heirloom Seed Project
- Heritage Grain Conservancy
- The Rocky Mountain Seed Alliance, Heritage Grain Trials
*In addition to these great organizations, I am adding the web addresses for two governmental seed bank sites. These are a great resource for seed if you are interested in preserving rare and “at risk” varieties. The seed is available at no cost, but these are not sources for “free seed” for cheap gardeners! This genetic material is precious and needs to be grown out, increased and shared.
- USDA GRIN
**Also, if you are interested in importing seed from outside the US, and want to do it legally, you need a permit issued from the USDA. It is free, but requires you to register and submit requests to import specific crop species and their countries of origin. I have done this and was granted my permits. It is a cumbersome system and it is easier to ask for forgiveness than permission, but I do understand the importance of not transferring pests, diseases and invasive plants from one part of the world to another.
- USDA APHIS (Accessing E-permits for the importation of plants and seed)
http://theseedsite.co.uk/aphisfaq.html#29 (fact sheet for importing small lots of seed into the US)