Every Friday The Foundry Home Goods donates 5% of our total sales to a different community-nominated small-and-mighty cause. This Friday's Foundry Giving Friday recipient? Seed Savers Exchange!
A seed is a small universe. Each tiny kernel holds within it the concurrent miracles of nourishment and nature, of hope and home. Seed saving—the keeping back of some of this year's cherished crop or foraged favorite in order to plant it again next year—has been a cornerstone of human sustenance since we transitioned from hunting and gathering. In the human scheme, keeping a jar of glass gem corn kernels in abeyance for next year is hardly rebellious. However, in a time when large agribusinesses are slowly crowding out and winnowing down available varietals, engineer plants that do not produce usable seeds, or, make it illegal to save and replant a patented seed, maintaining our connectivity to nourishment and preserving old ways becomes a radical act.
Based in the Driftless Region surrounding Decorah, Iowa, Seed Savers Exchange was started in 1978 by Diane Ott Whealy and Kent Whealy with heirloom seeds for treasured tomato and flower varieties lovingly brought to Iowa by Diane's Bavarian great-grandparents in the 1870's. Word spread like Scarlet Runner Bean Vines, and before long, more and more concerned gardeners began saving and swapping their own rare, heirloom varieties and donating seeds to the collection, which would soon become the center of a growing movement.
Passed from generation to generation these seeds, their stories, and their often beautifully poetic names may well have been lost forever if not for the foresight of these visionary gardeners and their singular dedication to preserving biodiversity in the face of changing farming and gardening practices. The power held within each sustainably saved seed is priceless—from the pioneer history and beautiful perseverance of American farmers and the dishes they made with the food they grew to the irreplaceable genetic diversity that will protect our food systems for our children and our children's children to come.
We support Seed Savers (and Seed Savers, in turn, supports both our winter-fireside-dreaming-of-green-times and our mid-summer garden bounties) by carrying their seeds in the shop, but housing, maintaining, and growing the nation’s largest nongovernmental seed bank of its kind, where thousands of rare, heirloom varieties are safeguarded for generations to come sometimes takes more than a few packets of Jimmy Nardello Pepper Seeds. If you're all set in your garden this season, consider donating directly here.
If you do find yourself in need of seeds, tools, or a scrub brush for those garden-dirty fingernails, know know that your purchase goes to support necessary change happening on the community level.
If YOU have a worthy cause to nominate for our Foundry Giving Friday initiative, pop on over to our Nomination Page and drop us a line. We're all in this together.