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$eed Trouble

    Even gardening, so restful, healthy, and uplifting --sometimes has bad news. Yes, there is trouble in the seed business. Kent Whealy of Seed-Saver's, a non-profit group that champions seed diversity, has documented how the trend of large companies absorbing smaller ones is rapidly reducing choices for gardeners.
    Diversity is less profitable than uniformity. When large corporate seed conglomerates sell seeds, they do so with the understandable goal of maximizing cash income. At the other extreme, consider Abundant Life Seed Foundation, founded 18 years ago by Forest Shomer, to supply local gardeners with organic seeds of plants native or adapted to the Pacific Northwest. Located in Port Townsend, the business gradually grew, and is globally known as a reliable seed and book supplier. However, since the goal was never dollars, but ever service, there was inevitable tension that has finally become a crisis. Now, reorganized and downscaled, Abundant Life is either just squeaking along as you read this, or has gone bankrupt and ceased operating.
    Please, if it is still possible, buy seeds or books from this company. About 600 seed varieties are offered; the catalog is informative, the book selection extensive. Besides offering you seeds and books, the Foundation assists needy farmers in Third World countries by donating free seeds of appropriate species. Seeds are supplied that the farmer can grow and reuse by allowing some of the crop to reseed. On the other hand, large seed companies usually offer special hybrid strains that must be repurchased year after year.
    Possibly even if seed orders pick-up, the Foundation may go under unless it secures substantial grants and loans to meet its immediate needs. For more information, write or call the Foundation: P.O. Box 772, Port Townsend, WA, 98368; (360) 385-5660.

(Originally published in a 1993 issue (January?) of the Seattle Tilth newsletter. The Foundation "experienced a devastating fire in 2003. Not only were their offices and seed packaging facilities lost, but also much of their seed inventory. The timing of the loss was such that printing a 2004 seed catalog was not possible. With the season lost, the board of directors had time to reflect on past accomplishments and future goals. After much discussion, it became clear to the board that the foundation's top priority should be the future work of the Organic Seed Alliance and the World Seed Fund. It was decided that to better focus on these goals, they would relinquish the seed catalog business, and let others carry on the work of saving, preserving, multiplying, and offering rare and extraordinary seeds." You can visit the new website at www.AbundantLifeSeeds.com)


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Arthur Lee Jacobson plant expert
Arthur Lee Jacobson plant expert
Arthur Lee Jacobson plant expert
Arthur Lee Jacobson plant expert
Arthur Lee Jacobson plant expert
Arthur Lee Jacobson plant expert
Arthur Lee Jacobson plant expert
Arthur Lee Jacobson plant expert
Arthur Lee Jacobson plant expert
Arthur Lee Jacobson plant expert
Arthur Lee Jacobson plant expert
Arthur Lee Jacobson plant expert
Arthur Lee Jacobson plant expert
Arthur Lee Jacobson plant expert

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