Thursday, February 12, 2015

A Seedy New Love

It is my absolute favorite time of year...time to start planning my garden!  The harsh winter months leave me yearning not only for warm weather, but for juicy fresh produce jam-packed with wholesome goodness. This year, I am bursting with anticipation as I have been blessed with a 20' x 20' community garden plot.  My new plot will be about ten times as big as I've been able to garden in the past.  I cannot wait to sink my fingers into the earth, give it some love, and gratefully relish in its return bounty.  

I confess, I may be a bit overzealous, but I have BIG PLANS this year to maximize my little piece of earth and my sunny front porch with a container garden.  Yep - "barren porch" is about to become "jungle porch".  My super sized garden plot and my new container gardening book have enticed me to plan for 22 different categories of fruits and veggies this year.  Variety is the spice of life and with any luck (perhaps a bit of a miracle), we will have a little of everything to munch on this growing season.

I have another confession to make.  I don't know how to put this, so I am just going to say it:  I am having an affair.  I have officially fallen in love with another venture.  Sorry, EcoEnclose.  You're still cool and all, but I've been swept off my feet by another. 

They lured me in with their seedy ways, making promises of genetic diversity and heirloom variations.  They tantalized me with their heroic ecological and ethical practices. To top it all off, they are planted in New York's majestic Hudson River old fertile stomping grounds. They had me at "hello" with their artfully-packaged seeds for my super mini-farmette and stole my heart in the process. It was not my fault.

Sonya, Customer Relations Extraordinaire of EcoEnclose, had the opportunity to get the inside scoop of this lusty biz from founder Ken Greene.  Read on and see if you can resist the lure of the Hudson Valley Seed Library...


Sonya:  Hello Ken! Tell us a little about yourself, and about what you do for the seed library.

Ken:  We're a small seed company so we all wear many hats. I'm involved in all aspects of our seedy business from growing the seeds on our farm to commissioning artists to create work for our unique seed packs. Right now I'm getting ready to hit the road and travel with our pop-up Seed Library shop to conferences and flower and garden shows all over the country.

Hudson Valley Seed Library has a great selection
of kid-friendly fruits and veggies for the wee gardener.
Sonya:  How did the  Hudson Valley Seed Library come to be?

I started the Seed Library in 2004 while working as a librarian at the Gardiner Public Library in Gardiner, New York. While learning about loss of genetic diversity and the control of seed by bio-tech corporations, I realize I could do something about the global seed issues by learning how to save seeds in my garden. As my interest grew, I began preserving heirloom seed varieties and decided to share them by adding them to the library catalog so that patrons could "check them out," grow them in their home gardens, and then "return" saved seed at the end of the season. The program was a small but successful endeavor-- the first seed library in a public library in the country.  After four years of running the program at the library, my partner Doug and I decided to turn the library into a mission-driven, homestead-based small business--which it still is today.

 Now, this is not just any run-of-the-mill seed catalog. What makes your company different? How does the process work?

What we do is rare in the seed world. First and foremost we are ethical about how we work with seeds. Seeds are living organisms and come to us through many generation and many hands. We steward the seeds in our catalog through responsible growing practices and celebrate their stories through art. Rather than using stock photos of vegetables that look too perfect to be real, we commission artists to interpret the varieties in our catalog. Every pack is designed by a different artist. The artwork celebrate the beauty, diversity, and cultural importance of the seeds held within each pack.

Where do you get the seeds for the library?

Ken:  We actually grow many of our own seeds, teach gardeners and farmers how to save seeds, and we work on introducing new open-pollinated varieties every year.  We love the many donations we've had from individuals and families of heirloom varieties that have never been available before.

Sonya:  Why is it so important to use organic and/or heirloom seeds?

Ken:  Heirloom and open-pollinated seeds give us independence in our gardens. They are the only seeds you can save seeds from that will grow true to type. They're also flexible and you can select them over time to adapt to your region or personal tastes. As for organic, if you believe in the importance of organically grown food for your health and the health of the environment, then why would you support chemical agriculture systems with your seed dollars? Plus, organic seeds grow better in organic gardens and farms!

Art Packs -- make a great gift!
Sonya:  Your company is very unique -  With 5 words, how would you explain your company culture?

Ken:  Creative. Ethical. Cooperative. Dedicated. Passionate.

Sonya: OK, last question! If you could only grow one thing in your own garden, what would it be and why?

Ken:  Ah! If I could narrow down what I like to grow I probably would have never started a seed company! We offer over 400 varieties and we're adding more every year. But, if I could only grow one thing, if would have to be Dino Kale.

Are you hooked, too?  If you've got a garden or a sunny porch, Hudson Valley Seed Library has an amazing selection of heirloom and open pollinated seeds for your little patch of earth. The seed Art Packs make the perfect gift for that special {green-thumbed} someone in your life.  {Guess what you are getting for Mother's Day this year, Mom!?!} Request a Catalog today and join the food biodiversity fiesta! 

Happy Gardening!

Erin Kimmett
EcoEnclose, Lead Eco-Geek

No comments:

Post a Comment