California seed and garden company
Not too often, unfortunately, do you hear about the important role that local seeds play in sustainable agriculture. By producing local seeds (seeds that are produced in the very place that they are intended to be grown), the food crops can adapt to local growing conditions. This makes these crops more resistant to local plant diseases and pests, as well as better adapted to environmental conditions and soil structure.
For those of us growing in southern California, this is even more important than ever as we face drought conditions. The seeds that grow in southern California should be adapted to the dry conditions that we are facing. Unless seed production takes place in southern California, growers face the possibility of huge crop failures due to the lack of area-specific varieties of food crops.
Here are just a few reasons why local organic seeds are a vital part of sustainability:
Creating sustainable agriculture, one seed at a time
By: Brijette Pena
Sustainable agriculture is defined as the production of food or animal products using farming techniques that protect the environment, public health, human communities and animal welfare. In the arena of sustainable agriculture you will hear many times about organic farming practices, ecological diversity and alternative energy practices. Not too often, unfortunately, do you hear about the important role that local seeds play in sustainable agriculture. Here are just a few reasons why local organic seed production is a vital part of sustainability.
Local seed production increases genetic diversity of food crops with traits that are advantageous to local growing conditions. By producing local seeds (seeds that are produced in the very place that they are intended to be grown), the food crops can adapt to local growing conditions. This makes these crops more resistant to local plant diseases and pests, as well as better adapted to environmental conditions and soil structure. For those of us growing in southern California, this is even more important than ever as we face record drought conditions. The seeds that grow in southern California should be adapted to the dry conditions that we are facing. Unless seed production takes place in southern California, growers face the possibility of huge crop failures due to the lack of area-specific varieties of food crops.
In addition to the need for area-specific plant varieties, genetic diversity is critical to sustainability. Currently genetic diversity overall is on the decline. It is estimated that large-scale agricultural companies own 90% of seed genetics, according to Neil Harl, an agriculture economist at Iowa State University. See here To curb and even reverse the imbalance of genetic ownership, consumers and gardeners must choose organic local seeds. By purchasing these local seeds, they are supporting small-scale organic seed producers that are consciously choosing to plant, produce and preserve the genetic heritage of produce in the United States. By purchasing from local organic seed producers they are ensuring that rare heirloom varieties are continuing to be produced and preserved for future generations. These thousands of rare heirloom varieties could have growing characteristics that would be suitable for future growing conditions. As global warming continues to change our daily weather patterns, we must work to preserve as many plant varieties as possible to utilize in these varying conditions.
Local seed production on a large scale is important for commercial farmers, but we must not overlook the huge importance of small-scale seed production. These small operations encourage seed saving and community involvement. By seed saving, individuals and farmers are allowed to retain seeds for future crops. This allows them to lessen their dependence on large-scale agricultural companies while selecting seed from the food crops that were the most successful in their own region. By doing so, these farmers are insuring that the next generation of that particular crop is even more equipped with the genetic traits to handle the local growing conditions.
As you can see, the benefits of local seed production are numerous and an intrinsic part of sustainability. To produce food sustainably, we must grow plants that are adapted to our specific climate and can survive with the least amount of chemical and energy input. To do that, we must continue to plant and produce seeds in the very place where they are intended to ensure the cycle of life.
Local seeds play a key role in sustainable agriculture. San Diego Seed Co. produces these regionally adapted local seeds for Southern California climates.
2019 List – Organic Seed Companies in California – Updated and Annotated
All Good Things Organic Seeds: www.plantgoodseed.com
The Plant Good Seed Company is the home of All Good Things Organic Seeds. We carry certified organic vegetable, flower, and herb seeds, including improved rare and heirloom varieties. Many of our varieties have been sourced directly from our home farm and a network of small scale seed growers. Our seed varieties are certified organic by Oregon Tilth. Our mission is: To propagate plant biodiversity. We have stewarded hundreds of plant species on our farms in Southern California and offer these seeds to our customers. Ojai, California
The Natural Gardening Company: www.naturalgardening.com
The Natural Gardening Company sets the highest standards in the organic seedling business. As the oldest certified organic nursery in the nation, we were instrumental in developing many of the guidelines by which other organic nurseries now operate. Sonoma County, California
Mountain Valley Grower: www.mountainvalleygrowers.com
In 1983, Mountain Valley Growers was incorporated with the goal of providing organically grown pots of herbs to retail nurseries and grocery stores. Here we are in 2018 and we are celebrating not only our 20th Fall Extravaganza but also marks the 35th year we have been in the business of providing certified organic plants to the entire United States. Thanks to all of you who support our efforts. We couldn’t do it without you! Squaw Valley, California
Laurel’s Heirloom Tomato Plants: www.heirloomtomatoplants.com
Welcome to the astonishing world of heirloom tomatoes! We are your Southern California source for 100 luscious varieties of organically grown heirloom tomato plants, a couple of carefully chosen great-tasting hybrids, plus a fine selection of gardening products for your garden and for growing in containers and greenhouses. 2019 will mark our 19th year shipping tomato plants right to your garden. Lomita, California
Renee’s Garden : www.reneesgarden.com
We work hard to find the best sustainable and organic growers with the skill and expertise to produce high-quality, high germinating seeds we know we can count on to ensure our customers’ success. All our varieties are Renee’s personal selections, chosen for great flavor in garden to table cooking, productivity, and top garden performance for home gardeners. Felton, California
The Kusa Seed Society: www.ancientcerealgrains.org
The purpose of The Kusa Seed Society is to increase humanity’s knowledge and understanding of a very ancient relationship — the relationship connecting humanity with the edible seedcrops. The precious edible seeds of the earth… have a history of small-scale cultivation and utilization which dates back more than 10,000 years. Ojai, California
Petaluma Seed Bank: www.rareseeds.com/get-to-know-baker-creek/petaluma-seed-bank/
Baker Creek carries one of the largest selections of seeds from the 19th century, including many Asian and European varieties. The company has become a tool to promote and preserve our agricultural and culinary heritage. Jere and Emilee also work extensively to supply free seeds to many of the world’s poorest countries, as well as here at home in school gardens and other educational projects. It is their goal to educate everyone about a better, safer food supply and fight gene-altered frankenfood and the companies that support it. Petaluma, California
Seeds of Change: www.seedsofchange.com
We are committed to furthering the organic cause by creating a unique seed-to-plate experience for people who cherish the goodness of nature in their gardens, kitchens, and communities. Our brand was founded in 1989 to make organically grown seeds available to gardens and farmers. We are proud signer of the Safe Seed Pledge from the Council for Responsible Genetics. Rancho Dominquez, California
Grow Organic: www.groworganic.com
We are dedicated to preserving the environment by providing you with cost-effective, state-of-the-art, organic growing supplies and the information and tools needed to apply them. Our brand was founded in 1989 to make organically grown seeds available to gardens and farmers Grass Valley, California
Kitazawa Seed Co.: www.kitazawaseed.com
Kitazawa Seed Company celebrated its centennial, and American taste buds and produce now reflect the diversity of our population. Once exotic sounding vegetables like eda mame, nappa, daikon and kabocha have become a part of our kitchens and gardens. Kitazawa Seeds proudly continues to offer the highest quality Asian seeds. We offer over 500 seed varieties that produce dento yasai or traditional heirloom vegetables of Japan. Oakland, CA, California
Cornucopia Seeds: www.cornucopiaseeds.com
Cornucopia offers value-priced packets for over 175 flowers, herbs and vegetables with all the best favorite and time-tested hybrids and a full array of familiar old-fashioned heirlooms. Cornucopia Seeds is based out of Felton, California and is the sister company to Renee’s Garden. We do not sell treated seed nor genetically modified seed and are one of the original companies to sign the “Safe Seed Pledge”. Felton, California
Sunnyside Organic Company: www.organic.biz
Sunnyside Organic Seedlings was founded in 2004 by Vernay ‘Pilar’ Reber, a graduate of the UC Santa Cruz Center for Agroecology and Sustainable Food Systems program. She and the rest of the Sunnyside crew are thrilled to be growing organic starts in the San Francisco Bay Area – a place where organic gardening is not only accepted, it is expected! Richmond, California
Pearson’s Gardens: www.pearsonsgardens.com
Founded in 1981 by Mark & Cindy Pearson. Today, Pearson’s Gardens & Herb Farm offers the largest selection of herbs & spices in the state of California, an ever-increasing selection of gourmet and unusual fruits & vegetables from around the world. Today they produce nearly 2,500 unique varieties of utilitarian and edible plants. Vista, California
Redwood Seeds: www.redwoodseeds.net
Our seeds are all Certified Organic by CCOF. All our seeds are open pollinated meaning gardeners can save their own pure seed from our stock. We seek out heirloom and open pollinated varieties that will perform in our Mediterranean climate, characterized by hot dry summers and cold wet winters. Manton, California
Rolling Hills Herbs & Heirloom Annuals: www.rollinghillsherbs.com
As nursery stock growers of certified organic culinary and heirloom vegetable starter plants, we love offering you varieties that you will savor each taste from your gardens bounty, your senses transported to places afar and cherished times past. Redlands, California
San Diego Seed Company: www.sandiegoseedcompany.com
Through our seed company we not only produces heirloom varieties well adapted for the Southern California growers but we also facilitate and promote ethical seed production aimed at providing growers the best varieties for their success. The idea is simple. If good seed that is adapted to our climate is produced locally, then we can add one more layer of support to our regional food systems. San Diego, California
Smart Seed: www.smartseedstore.com
Smart Seeds is the leading source for rare, exotic seeds from around the world. We’ve found sources on six continents for seeds not found in commercial garden catalogs. All seed is tested for purity, germination and vigor before being offered for sale. We do not sell hybrid or genetically modified seed. Upland, California
Sprout People: www.sproutpeople.org/
Our company serves the Home Sprouter. We are committed to making your sprouting experience as perfect as possible, so in addition to the most extensive list of seeds anywhere (no foolin’) we offer a wide range of sprouters and other tools, thorough growing instructions, recipes and complete “technical support”. Our goal is to provide the Home Sprouter with everything needed to grow the finest sprouts in the world. The seeds we sell you are the same seeds we sprout in our kitchen. California
TomatoFest Organic Heirloom Tomato Seeds: www.tomatofest.com
Heirloom tomatoes are not only splendid to taste, but they have a fascinating, rich history that springs from family farms around the world. Ninety-five percent of American home gardeners include tomatoes in their gardens, and many prioritize their garden space to assure room for heirloom tomatoes. Many of the 500 heirloom tomato varieties I grow are used to preserve the seed stock of valued tomato varieties from around the world. California
Sustainable Seed Company: www.sustainableseedco.com
Sustainable Seed Company, founded in 2008 is both the passion project and mass preservation effort of John Fendley (aka “Farmer John”). Concerned that many vegetables from childhood were no longer propagated, sold, or grown, John set out to protect and share rare heirloom seeds. His efforts in the last 10 years have helped gardeners, farmers, and nurseries, nationwide, rediscover our agricultural heritage and the biodiversity we know to be critical for a more healthy ecosystem.
Hudson, Seedsman: www.jlhudsonseeds.net/
“A PUBLIC ACCESS SEED BANK – ESTABLISHED 1911, 1911 – 2019, Our 109th Year”
“We propagate and distribute rare seeds from every continent; native plants from around the world, including flowers, vines, trees, cacti, culinary herbs, heirloom vegetables, ornamentals, hardy perennials, medicinal plants, and tropicals.” La Honda, California
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2019 List – Organic Seed Companies in California – Updated and Annotated All Good Things Organic Seeds: www.plantgoodseed.com The Plant Good Seed Company is the home of All Good Things