Having a difficult time finding that heirloom tomato you bought at a farmers market last summer? Why not attend a seed swap? And what better time to find a seed swap than National Seed Swap Day?
National Seed Swap Day is celebrated the last Saturday in January. There’s plenty of seed swapping events around the country. If you’re unsure where a seed swap is happening around you, check out a couple of the resources below.
What are seed swaps?
Seed swaps are events for gardeners and farmers trading heirloom seeds with one another, to increase the variety of plants in their gardens. Seed swapping isn’t a new idea, but it’s been gaining steam due to the organic gardening and farming movement.
It also has some cultural significance according to Wikipedia.org:
“…it allows a culture which has become widely distributed, such as Hispanic and Latino Americans in the United States, to continue to grow the food they are accustomed to, foods which often have great significance, and for which seeds are often transported over great distances.”
For instance, a tomato that’s been grown in the Appalachian Mountains for many years is probably adapted to that particular environment. It may have a unique shape, color or flavor. That’s what many gardeners (and consumers) are interested in.
Seed swap resources
Here’s a few websites and directories we’ve found that help facilitate the seed swapping process. Many of these websites allow users to search for seeds or place their seeds online for trade.
- Seed Savers isn’t a seed swap, per say. There’s no forum for growers to communicate or function that lets users connect with each other, but it’s a good resource, anyway.
- It’s a non-profit that sells heirloom seeds. With a membership, you can buy seeds at a 10% discount and you also receive a quarterly publication about heirloom seeds.
- Seed Swaps is a virtual seed exchange that allows users to post their seeds onto the website. If somebody is interested in trading seeds, they can contact you directly.
- The website allows users to upload photos of the flowers or vegetables they’re posting for trade. The site also offers a decent search feature, a browsing feature and user feedback.
- This is a pretty good resource if you’re unable to find a local seed swap in your area or you’re interested in trading with growers around the world.
The National Gardening Association
- The National Gardening Association gives seed swappers a full-service experience. NGA offers users access to advice, plant finders, libraries, gardening directories and a whole slew of other features other websites don’t have.
- As for the swapping end of things, NGA’s system, though large, can use some improvement. Users can upload “seeds wanted” or “seeds offered.” The post is public for 30 days. NGA’s system puts growers in direct contact with each other outside of the website. So it’s up to individuals to follow-through on requests.
2nd Annual Ohio Seed Swap
- Share, swap and leave with seeds to grow your own food thanks. The event begins January 25 at 11:30 a.m. at the OSU Urban Arts Space in Columbus, Ohio.