Wait a second, you thought Seed Savers Exchange only stewarded seeds? Think again! Heritage Farm is home to two herds of Ancient White Park cattle, cared for by Seed Savers Exchange. These heritage cows are part of an ongoing conservation effort and an important part of Seed Savers Exchange’s mission.
Lina Sisco of Wadena, Missouri, was one of the original listed members of the True Seed Exchange (as Seed Savers Exchange was known until 1979) and the donor of the beautiful and popular ‘Lina Sisco Bird Egg’ bean.
Russ Crow’s earliest gardening memories are with his father, planting tomatoes. Inspired, Russ convinced his father to build a 2×2 foot plot in the yard to cultivate. “I planted it entirely in radishes. Solid radishes,” laughed Russ, nostalgically.
Kathleen Plunkett-Black grew up in Vermont, gardening with her father. One year, he decided to let Kathleen and her two siblings each have their own small plots planted with anything they wanted. “I picked celery, my brother picked peanuts, and my sister picked Brussels sprouts,” she remembers, laughing.
John Coykendall was born and raised in Knoxville, Tennessee by his mother and father—a school teacher and a banker, respectively. John’s grandfather owned a farm and was a congressman by profession. In 1954, when John was 11, his father taught him to plant potatoes and corn. It was then that John found his love of gardening. “I still get the same thrill out of digging new potatoes that I did the first year!” remembers John.
Jim Tjepkema, like many seed savers, gardened as a child with his parents. “My dad always had a garden as I was growing up. I helped some with planting it,” he remembers, “You know, my mother liked to do canning too, so we always had canned vegetables and some frozen as well, so that started me out in gardening.”
Over 26 years, Bill Minkey has donated nearly 500 varieties of tomatoes, beans, lettuce, and peas to the Seed Savers Exchange seed bank collection, and in 2017, Bill listed 1,011 varieties in the Exchange.