Mobile Seed Processing Trailer

Project Overview

Project Type: Farmer
Funds awarded in 2023: $27,837.00
Projected End Date: 11/30/2026
Grant Recipient: Philia Farm
Region: Northeast
State: New York
Project Leader:


  • Vegetables: beans, beets, broccoli, brussel sprouts, cabbages, carrots, cauliflower, celery, greens (leafy), greens (lettuces), okra, onions, parsnips, peas (culinary), turnips
  • Additional Plants: ornamentals


  • Crop Production: postharvest treatment, seed saving, varieties and cultivars
  • Education and Training: demonstration, farmer to farmer, workshop
  • Sustainable Communities: community development, new business opportunities, partnerships, public participation, quality of life

    Proposal summary:

    Vegetable farmers and Indigenous seedkeepers in the Northeast are currently participating in a SARE Research and Education grant which will teach them to grow higher quality seed crops. However, once the seed crops are grown, there is almost no equipment available to farmers in the Northeast to efficiently clean it. I propose creating a mobile seed cleaning unit which can be transported first around New York and then around the Northeast, providing access to equipment to participants in the seed grant and then additional growers after the grant concludes. 65 commercial growers and 30 Indigenous seed keepers would be able to use the unit in the first two years, and more would be able to use it after that. This project is being closely modeled off the mobile seed processing units created by FarmFolk CityFolk, a nonprofit in British Columbia which has now built four units total and has cleaned over 20,000 pounds of seed to date.

    Project objectives from proposal:

    This project seeks to provide vegetable seed growers with recommended seed processing equipment to improve their efficiency, safety, and profitability.

    The mobile seed processing unit will visit a minimum of 4-5 sites throughout New York/New England per year, where 10-15 growers at a time will be trained on equipment usage and then allowed to use equipment to clean their own seed. The trailer will circulate in 2023 and 2024 as part of the NESARE grant, and will expand its range in 2025 and 2026 based on need.

    In total, at least 65 commercial seed growers and 30 Indigenous seed keepers will have the opportunity to use the unit between 2023 and 2024. At least one event per year will be focused on community seed saving, and will allow smaller-scale growers to process seed.

    Based on feedback from growers using similar seed processing units on the west coast, we expect growers to enjoy up to nine times faster seed processing, and a higher quality final product, as compared to hand cleaning of seed.

    Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the U.S. Department of Agriculture or SARE.