Saving our Seed: A program to train farmers

Project Overview

Project Type: Research and Education
Funds awarded in 2003: $204,500.00
Projected End Date: 12/31/2006
Region: Southern
State: Virginia
Principal Investigator:
Tony Kleese
Carolina Farm Stewardship Association
Brian Cricket Rakita
Carolina Farm Stewardship Association

Annual Reports


  • Vegetables: beans, cabbages, cucurbits, peppers, tomatoes


  • Crop Production: seed saving
  • Education and Training: networking, workshop
  • Production Systems: organic agriculture
  • Sustainable Communities: infrastructure analysis


    The Saving Our Seed Project Summary

    The project has successfully raised awareness, production, availability, and knowledge about local and organic seeds in the Southeast. Where some desired seed types are not suited for mass production in the region, we have forged alliances with seed dealers, seed producers, and non-profit organizations in other regions and their counterparts here to produce high quality well adapted seed of these types for us. We have inspired folks throughout the area to seriously evaluate which cultivars are the best performers in their microclimates and have trained many sustainable and organic growers to produce the seeds that they can use and sell.

    Project objectives:

    Saving Our Seed Objectives

    From the original proposal:

    Our main objective is to increase the availability of regionally produced and adapted, certified organic, open pollinated seed. Achieving this objective involves the following steps:
    1. Survey farmers on what seed crops they think are in greatest need.
    2. Based on survey results, identify specific crops and potential farmer participants.
    3. Research current available information on organic/open pollinated seed production and identify obstacles or missing information.
    4. Develop draft seed production management plans for the organic and open pollinated seed varieties within the identified crops.
    5. Develop and conduct Seed Production workshops.
    6. Work with farmers to plant crops and record data for improving seed production management plans.
    7. Develop an infrastructure team to evaluate issues related to seed harvest, cleaning, storage, and distribution.
    8. Develop strategies for addressing issues related to seed harvest, cleaning, testing, storage, and distribution.

    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.