Updated: May 4, 2022
Sourcing matters. The local food movement recognizes this; people buy local food because they know where it comes from. For the farmers who produce the food, the same concerns arise when we buy things outside the farm, such as seeds.
We look for sustainability in a company, but this has many aspects. Sustainability can look like (but is not limited to) offering heirloom seeds, emphasizing organic & biodynamic, being local/having low carbon shipping footprint, structuring as employee owned, focusing on education, giving generously (like giving a % of profits to charities), and maintaining transparency of practices.
Below I've listed a few companies we love. I've linked their websites and you can read in the "About" sections and browse their selections to discover why they're awesome.
(this company has great seed starting gear and equipment, too)
Full disclosure, I'm not as familiar with Botanical Interests as the above three. However, I wanted to include a company from the middle of the country for those interested in the carbon shipping footprint aspect.
Even smaller scale companies—
You can probably find seeds from local seed companies at your independent local garden store or nursery. That’s how I’ve found seeds from Washington State and Pacific Northwest brands such as Ed Hume Seeds, Uprising Seeds, and Nichols Garden Nursery.
A google search can also help you find local-to-you seed companies. You should be able to read about their practices in an “About” section. Many smaller local companies have specialized seeds for the local growing conditions. For example, Ed Hume Seeds specializes in “short season, cool climate areas.”
When I bought seeds for family in Montana, I knew that their growing season was very different from mine. So I searched “Montana seed companies” and found a great option that specializes in seeds that do well in Montana’s colder weather and shorter growing season.
Other options? Whether the goal is saving money or your simply interested in building your skill set, there are other options for finding seeds. I like to search hashtags on social media and I also follow/subscribe to a variety of farm/garden accounts. Keep your eye out for local seed swaps or utilize social media— I’ve been a part of two incredible seed swaps I found via Instagram and have learned how to save my own seeds via tutorials from garden coaches like Carilyn at Kitsap Roots.
I always love picking out my seeds each year in the winter as we wait for spring and planting season. Hope this helps and happy planting!