Mission

Seed Savers Exchange is a non-profit, 501(c)(3), member supported organization that saves and shares the heirloom seeds of our garden heritage, forming a living legacy that can be passed down through generations.


Our mission is to conserve and promote America's culturally diverse but endangered garden and food crop heritage for future generations by collecting, growing, and sharing heirloom seeds and plants.


At the heart of Seed Savers Exchange are the dedicated members who have distributed hundreds of thousands of heirloom and open pollinated garden seeds since our founding over 37 years ago. Those seeds now are widely used by seed companies, small farmers supplying local and regional markets, chefs and home gardeners and cooks, alike.



Seed Savers Exchange was founded in 1975 by Diane Ott Whealy and Kent Whealy to honor this tradition of preserving and sharing. Their collection started when Diane's terminally-ill grandfather gave them the seeds of two garden plants, Grandpa Ott's morning glory and German Pink tomato. Grandpa Ott's parents brought the seeds from Bavaria when they immigrated to St. Lucas, Iowa in the 1870s.


Today, the 890-acre Heritage Farm, near Decorah, Iowa, is our home. We maintain many thousands of heirloom garden varieties, most having been brought to North America by members' ancestors who emigrated from Europe, the Middle East, Asia and other parts of the world.




Unlike Fort Knox, Heritage Farm is not surrounded by security fences and guards. Our perimeter is patrolled by bald eagles, red-tailed hawks, deer, raccoons and other wildlife. The farm is ringed by hiking trails that take visitors through majestic scenery, past our certified organic preservation gardens, historic orchard and ancient White Park Cattle. 



Visitors are welcome at Heritage Farm from March 1st through December 23rd. The Lillian Goldman Visitors Center is open weekdays 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and weekends 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Donations are welcome to help us with our preservation work. Guided tours and bus tours are available for a charge of $3.00 per person. Please contact Seed Savers Exchange at 563-382-5990 for more information or to arrange a tour.


SSE Board Members and Advisors
Board Members
Advisors

Keith Crotz 
Neil Hamilton
Rob Johnston, Jr
George DeVault
David Cavagnaro
Rosalind Creasy
Larry Grimstad
Hope Shand
Marty Teitel
Rowen White

Learn more about SSE's Board Members »

Suzanne Ashworth
Dan Beard
Clive Blazey
Dave Ellis
Joel Girardin
Jim Henry
Lindsay Lee
Craig LeHoullier
Beth Lynch
Deborah Madison
Laura Merrick
Phillip Sponenberg
John Swenson
Lee Zieke
Special Advisor: Amy Goldman Fowler