What you see in this photo started with a few seeds in the palm of my hand, planted in a former front lawn.
The time is now my friends to radically transform our food systems and our relationship with our food.
We can grow 100% of our vegetables and fruits right in our communities. No long-distance shipping, no guzzling of fossil fuels, no heavy inputs of pesticides, no wasteful plastic packaging needed.
We can grow food in our yards, balconies, windowsills, rooftops, abandoned lots, our neighbor’s unused space, the strips of land between the street and sidewalk, at our schools, churches, businesses and the opportunities go on!
This food can be more nutritious, delicious and rewarding than anything we buy at the store.
It will be work. The most rewarding and meaningful things in life take work.
But if you love it, if it feeds your soul, if it gives you a reason to wake and puts you to bed with a smile on your face, is it really work?
We don’t have to do it alone. We can do it with community. We MUST do it with community.
Seeds are liberation. Seeds are sovereignty. Seeds are powerful!
The resources exist. The knowledge exists. Humans have been hard at work for decades and centuries. We invite you to join us. This is a resource guide to help you get the seeds you need to grow your own food.
Through The Free Seed Project we provide seeds for free to people with low access to healthy food. Since 2018 we have provided seed packs to 40,000 people who face financial barriers to access healthy food and seeds to grow their own food. For the average person to purchase these 20 seed packs of open-pollinated, non-GMO seeds, they would typically spend over $80. We provide it to our recipients absolutely free, mailing the pack directly to their door. Our seed packs contain enough seeds to abundantly plant two 4’x8′ raised beds and can easily produce over $400 worth of healing greens, hearty veggies, tasty herbs and a mix of pollinator friendly flowers.
Learn more and request a free pack of seeds here.
We also offer seeds by donation with our Power of the Seeds Pack to fund our giving of seeds.
Learn more and request seeds here.
Creative Ways To Obtain Seeds on Turtle Island (The land formerly known as the United States)
- For those on US Snap/Food Stamps, you may use your benefits to purchase seeds and seedlings for your edible garden.
- Search for your local seed libraries.
- Check your public library, local food pantries, and food banks.
- Check your local extension office. Most counties in the US have an extension office that works closely with gardening experts knowledgeable with your region. Use this resource to find extension offices across the United States (or use this website to search by zip code).
- Join local gardening groups and seed exchange groups, and attend seed swap events.
- Volunteer at your local community garden. Ask for seeds and cuttings.
- If you are Native American, check with your tribe! Some tribes and organizations are known to offer free seeds. Check the section “Indigenous Seed Sovereignty” below for a few resources.
- Grow from kitchen scraps.
- Save the seeds from fruits and veggies you purchase from local sources such as the farmers market or local farms.
Nationwide Seed Companies on Turtle Island
Local Seed Companies on Turtle Island
Here are a selection of local seed companies. Some of them produce 100% of the seed they offer, some work with other seed producers in their region, while others produce a portion of the seeds they offer and also source seeds from larger seed producers.
More Options to Find Seeds
- Contact seed companies for donations if you are a community organization. Most offer donations of their last year supply of seeds.
- Search the internet
Seed Companies outside of Turtle Island
We do not have experience with seed companies outside of the land that we live on. However, we have enough experience to share that there are plenty of seed companies to order from. A simple web search within your country will turn up seed companies that you can purchase from. We recommend searching for non-GMO, open-pollinated and organic seeds. We encourage sourcing seeds as local to your region as you can find and support small scale seed savers, keepers and growers.
Seed Keeping, Seed Saving and Seed Exchanges
Seed exchanging may be happening already right in your community without you knowing it! How to find others already engaged with seeds in your community:
Seed Savers Exchange – Find and share seeds. We’re a community of gardeners and seed stewards, sharing and swapping rare seeds you might not find anywhere else. The Exchange works to keep biodiversity strong and garden traditions thriving.
Community Seed Network – a website dedicated to connecting and supporting community seed initiatives by providing resources and a platform for networking and information sharing. An alliance that provides tools and advice to community groups interested in creating their own seed exchanges and seed libraries. Use their map to find a seed sharing community near you!
SeedLibraries.org – An excellent resource for starting a seed library or find a seed library in your region. Looking to start a Seed Library? Here is a SeedLibraries.org’s resource page for sourcing seeds to get started
Seed Keepers, a people-of-color-led seed-keeping collective that works to keep alive knowledge, culture and ancestry through the preservation of seeds. Convened at Tierra Negra Farms and including six farms and sixteen farmers along the Atlantic Coast.
Organic Seed Alliance
Indigenous Seed Sovereignty
- Sierra Seed Cooperative and Indigenous Seed Steward Rowen White – We cultivate intimacy with the earth and ancestral food traditions through medicinal storytelling on seed songs and seed rematriation in innovative, grounding, rich fertile, nourishing learning circles. We guide farmers, gardeners, food justice activists to feel nourished, empowered and uplifted to grow their capacity as creative leaders, visionaries, and changemakers through mentorship/facilitation on seed stewardship and food sovereignty (Seed Seva and Seeding Change).
- Indigenous Seedkeepers Network – Promoting Indigenous culturally diversity for future generations by collecting, growing, and sharing heirloom seeds and plants.
- Indigenous Seed Initiative – is an unincorporated Association whose purpose is to restore and preserve the genetic vitality and differentiation within the food chain; expanding the vault of plant antiquity by storing treasures of the ancient and remote past while disseminating them to urban farmers, gardeners and rural farmers committed to the restoration of vibrant seeds.
Black Liberation through Seeds
- Ira Wallace of Southern Exposure Seed Exchange
- Sistah Seeds – Our Seeds, Our Heritage, Our Future. Sistah Seeds grows heirloom vegetable, herb and grain seeds from across the African Diaspora, with a focus on African-American, Afro-Caribbean, and West African cultural crops.
- UJAMMA SEEDS – “recognizes the need for increased diversity in farming in general, and diversity in the U.S. seed industry in particular. We are committed to providing increased opportunities and support for growers from historically marginalized communities. To this end, the Ujamaa Cooperative Farming Alliance is working to bridge the gap between prospective growers and seed companies.” “Increasing access to culturally meaningful seeds.”
- Black Owned Seed Companies recommended by Black Girls with Gardens
- True Love Seeds Meet the Farmers page – Here you can source seeds from BIPOC small-scale urban or rural farmers committed to sustainable agriculture, food sovereignty, and cultural preservation. Each farmer chose to grow at least one culturally-important variety that tells the story of their ancestry, their community, and/or their region.
- Farming While Black book by Leah Penniman
- How to Become a Gardener by Ashlie Thomas, The Mocha Gardener
- Homowo African Heritage Seed Collection at Old Salem Museums and Gardens