The project aimed to explore selected Midwestern entities engaged in promoting seed saving/seed exchanges among gardeners and farmers, including interviewing farmers and gardeners. Minimal prior research exists in this area, however research and information is seen as helpful to others interested in seed saving techniques, especially farmers seeking out lower priced inputs for their farming operations. This is a preliminary summary of the findings.

Key Question

Why farmers and gardeners choose to practice the traditional agronomic skill of seed saving which, although once widely practiced, is contemporarily only practiced occasionally?


For this research, sixteen seed saving farmers and gardeners were interviewed; with an additional interview with a representative of the Open Seed Source Initiative (OSSI). Preliminary analysis of the interviews indicated that seed saving is an immensely learnable skill and practice. Many organizations exist to support gardeners and farmers in learning these techniques. Multiple formats for learning are available from online webinars to hands-on experiences and apprenticeships. Seed saving also has significant potential to contribute to promoting agroecosystem resiliency, something which becomes increasingly more important in times of environmental and climate change.

Principal Investigator(s)

Beth Kersey

Year of Grant Completion