Herman Believed in the Power of Seed.

What is a seed donation?

Donations are seed packets returned from retail seed racks throughout the country, or are overstock seed packets from the previous year. These seeds have been stored in a variety of environments, and SSE recommends planting more than the suggested sowing rate in case of low germination. Herman's Garden seed is limited; we will supply each project with what we can. Donations are usually mailed within 4-6 weeks.

Who is eligible?

Donated seed is intended only for established community and educational groups who will freely share the harvest, and save seed for others in need. Non-profits, schools, community gardens, and educational programs in the U.S. are eligible to receive Herman's Garden seed donations. Due to customs restrictions and shipping costs, we cannot honor requests outside of the United States. We do not accept requests from individuals. We do not accept requests for projects where seed will be sold, or resulting produce will be sold.

How do I apply?

After checking to make sure you meet eligibility requirements, please complete the application form and include $10 to cover postage and handling.

  •       •Please return form by email to customerservice@seedsavers.org, with "Herman’s Garden Request" in the subject line (please remember to include credit card information on the form).
  •       •Or mail form with $10 donation to Seed Savers Exchange; Attn: Herman's Garden; 3094 North Winn Road; Decorah, IA 52101
  •       •Please call 563-382-5990 with any questions.

  • Donation Form

    About the Herman’s Garden Seed Donation Program

    Herman believed in the power of a seed. Over 30 years ago Seed Savers Exchange was a small out-of-the-way Missouri garden with big ambitions. Our young non-profit organization rented land; we stored seeds in volunteers’ basements and deep freezers all over the country. We were a few people, a handful of seed, and a vision to populate gardens everywhere with rare and healthy seed varieties, keeping genetic diversity and age-old gardening heritage alive. When Herman Warsh and his wife Maryanne Mott heard about our vision, they believed in its merits. Through their financial and moral support over the years, they literally planted this dream in the earth.

    Their gift has grown into the Seed Savers Heritage Farm as it is today, an 890-acre farm in Northeast Iowa where we collect, preserve and share thousands of different varieties of seeds. Seed Savers Exchange members have distributed heirloom seeds to thousands of gardeners throughout the world, and Heritage Farm is one of the largest non-governmental seed banks in the country. For decades Herman and Maryanne visited the farm and were delighted by what that gift had become. Herman would grab a walking stick and set off humming to visit the gardens, admire the stream, or hike through to the White Pine woods. If children were about, he would take them along, pointing out trillium or red-tailed hawks soaring over the valley. He rejoiced that the farm provided—not just seeds—but food, health and community to the people who planted those seeds.

    In the spring of 2006, Herman Warsh passed away. Seed Savers Exchange lost a true friend and the world a gentle spirit. Herman wanted no fuss or flowers. If we wished to honor him, we were to do a good deed in his name. Herman's belief in the legacy of "one seed, one gift" continues to guide our work. Honoring his spirit of generosity, Seed Savers Exchange donates seeds to organizations and community gardens around the globe. These seeds, in no small part, come from Herman. We ask participants to continue giving, to do a good deed in Herman’s name, perhaps by teaching children to grow healthy gardens, to save seeds for new gardens next year, or by delivering produce to a local food pantry. Also, we ask that all tenders of Herman’s Gardens send us stories or photographs so we can show how you have passed on his gift to others. We know that our seed donations and the garden’s food, health and community that grow would make Herman very happy.

    In every Herman's Garden donation box we will include a specially-marked seed packet of pole beans and empty seed envelopes. We hope that these seeds will be grown in every Herman’s Garden for their seed. That seed can then be passed on to other gardeners.

    We wish all a bountiful harvest and please share pictures, letters, articles, or stories about your Herman’s Garden.