Our Mission

We 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.

Who we are

Seed Savers Exchange is a non-profit (501(c)(3) status) organization dedicated to saving and sharing seeds.

Saving seeds

Seed Savers Exchange takes threats to biodiversity seriously. We maintain a collection of more than 20,000 heirloom and open-pollinated vegetable, herb, and plant varieties, including over 1,000 varieties of heritage apple trees. We take great care to ensure the health and viability of our collection for generations of growers to come. We keep the bulk of our collection in an underground freezer vault at Heritage Farm.

Each year, we grow out select varieties in gardens at Heritage Farm to refresh our seed supply. To maintain accurate records of each variety’s traits, our Evaluation Team grows out other varieties and keeps careful track of them, updating descriptions, and checking for inconsistencies. Our seed historian researches the story of each variety, documenting its history and the lives of the people who brought it to our collection.

Did You Know?

Ex situ preservation is what we call the practice of protecting seeds in genebanks and in situ preservation is the work you do in your back yard.

A network that needs you

Seed Savers Exchange relies on a two-pronged method we call participatory preservation.

The seedbank is important, but it isn’t enough without our member community. Gardeners grow out a variety and save its seeds, allowing the variety to adapt to the growing conditions of the area. Without individual gardeners, we miss our chance to help seeds adapt to changing conditions, leaving our vault as a sort of museum for varieties that haven’t changed with their environment. You can play an enormous role in preservation by growing out heirloom varieties in your garden and saving seeds.

Join our community to join the movement! You can practice seed conservation in your own backyard.

Sharing seeds

Since a network of growers is so important to conservation, we work to get seeds into the hands of as many gardeners as possible.

Gardeners share homegrown seeds with one another through our seed exchange. The seed exchange is available online and in print to encourage seed savers of all generations to participate. Participants from across the world share their seeds, and Seed Savers Exchange offers many varieties from our own extensive collection. In 2015, the exchange featured over 23,000 listings.

To reach gardeners outside our own membership network, we also publish an annual seed catalog featuring over 600 varieties. Anyone can request a free catalog or shop for seeds. When combined with memberships and donations, seed sales enable us to pursue our mission of preserving and distributing heirloom seeds.

Browse over 600 seed varieties in our online store

"Institutions do not save seeds. Humans with hearts do."

Gary Paul Nabhan