Mother Earth News recently published results from an organic garden seed survey provided to about 200 seed companies in the U.S. and Canada. Results show increased interest in locally and organically produced seed. Mother Earth News reports:
About a dozen seed companies sell 100 percent organic seeds, while a dozen other companies estimate that more than 75 percent of their listings are organic.
The number of organic varieties offered by many larger companies is increasing.
About half of the seed merchants reported that their customers prefer to buy certified organic or biodynamic seed, and about 75 percent of companies plan to expand their selection of organic seed in the future.
Some companies are seeking out more local growers to help meet increasing demand for organic seeds.
Maggie Sullivan of Nature’s Crossroads in Indiana is working to build a seed company that focuses on certified organic, locally adapted Midwestern varieties. “Our biggest challenge is rebuilding the local organic seed supply,” she says. Patrick Steiner from Stellar Seeds in British Columbia shares this vision. “We feel it’s important that organic seed production be part of local organic farming systems, so that local growers work to provide each other with organic seeds from their own region.”
[OSA board member] Ira Wallace of the cooperatively managed Southern Exposure Seed Exchange in Virginia would also like to see “more variety trials aimed at developing and selecting open-pollinated varieties for organic systems.”
The majority that do plan to increase their listings of organic seed share a common goal: more local growers with the knowledge and motivation to grow high-quality organic garden seeds for the growing ranks of organic gardeners.