The Hudson Valley Seed Company is spreading seeds and
In 2004, former children’s librarian Ken Greene introduced the concept of a “seed library” to the Gardiner public library after learning about the issues around biotechnology in agriculture. The Valley Educational Seed Saving Exchange and Library (VESSEL) allowed patrons to “borrow” organic, heirloom seeds from a vast selection, grow them at home and then collect seeds at the end of the season to give back to the library’s catalog.
This program began Greene’s mission: to save, share and celebrate seeds, and in 2008 he co-founded the non-profit Hudson Valley Seed Company. Today, the company is so much more than just a seed library.
The Hudson Valley Seed Company is dedicated to preserving culture and diversity through agriculture. With the rise of biotech corporations came a global loss in genetic diversity and where there was once an abundance of food species, only a few, genetically modified species were being sold as produce. The rest were becoming extinct.
“We saw this as an opportunity to make a difference and to give people a way to buy seeds that match their agricultural and cultural values,” Green told the Hudson Valley Magazine earlier this year.
Since then, the company has started an agricultural movement, inspired over 400 seed libraries across the country, and launched two new programs which “engage communities in seed justice that strengthens agricultural, cultural and biological diversity,” according to their website. Those programs are the Native American Seed Sanctuary and Kitchen Cultivars.
The Native American Seed Sanctuary, partnered with the Akwesasne Mowhak Tribe of northern New York, is a project dedicated to the education, preservation and protection of the rich agricultural and cultural heritage of indigenous people.
“It’s not just the seeds that could disappear; it’s the ceremonies, rites of passage and language that are all connected to these seeds. So when we lose the seed, we also lose those cultural practices,” Greene said in an interview with Hudson Valley One.
The Kitchen Cultivars project is a horticultural facilitation collaboration between farmers and farm-to-table culinary professionals to create the planting and popularity of crops ecologically and culturally suited for the Hudson Valley. This allows for the consumption of unique, diverse and fresh crops right here on Main Street.
The Hudson Valley Seed Company is not only interested in spreading seeds, but art as well. Their seed packagings commission local artists in diverse medias to celebrate the artistry of heirloom variety.
The heart of the company is a small farm in Accord, New York, but you can find their seeds sprinkled all over town.