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ADAPT

The ADAPT community science program is an interactive way to get involved in Seed Savers Exchange’s mission of preserving and sharing our food crop heritage.

Garden beds with a barn and building in the background.

What is ADAPT?

The Community Science ADAPT program is a fun and exciting way to get involved in Seed Savers Exchange’s mission of preserving and sharing our food crop heritage. Participants in this program trial varieties from the seed bank in their own gardens and send us feedback on their performance. This information helps us better understand the adaptability of these varieties to different environments and guides our selection process for new introductions into the Seed Savers Exchange catalog.

How It Works

In early January each year, Seed Savers Exchange releases details on the trials we’re offering for the upcoming season. Participants select the crop(s) they want to trial and are then randomly assigned three varieties. In the first week of March, SSE sends participants a kit containing seeds, plant labels, a datasheet, and instructions for submitting their data. Participants are asked to grow the three varieties side-by-side under the same conditions. SSE does not require a minimum number of plants. Participants evaluate each variety on a handful of key characteristics, including yield, flavor, earliness, appearance, and disease resistance. Data is submitted via a web platform called SeedLinked, which Seed Savers Exchange has partnered with since 2018.

The platform provides both a user-friendly computer interface and a free smartphone app that participants can use to track, share, and learn about regional seed and variety performance. Watch this video about SeedLinked.

Cartoon of the ADAPT program process. Collection seed regeneration, on-site evaluations, ADAPT trails, catalog seed production, and catalog introduction.

Questions?

If you have any questions, please email [email protected].

Testimonials

Cathie Pitman

"I really enjoy trialing plants for the ADAPT Program. I look forward to the excitement of seeing how the plants and their fruits turn out, sharing the information of their characteristics both good and bad, and interacting with other ADAPT growers.”

Bjorn Bergman

"Seed Savers Exchange's ADAPT Program is a highlight for me each growing season. I love getting to grow heirloom varieties from SSE's seed bank and provide my feedback on them so that the preservation team can decide what varieties to introduce to future SSE catalogs. The ADAPT program makes me feel like I am actively participating in Seed Savers Exchange's mission of getting more people to grow and be educated about heirloom seeds."

Black woman in a grey t-shirt stands proudly smiling to camera in front of a small garden.

April Jones

“Living in sunny Columbia, South Carolina I greatly enjoyed the ADAPT trials as an urban farmer in the Pinehurst neighborhood.”

Emily Hoang

“Being part of ADAPT gives me insights into different vegetable varieties and the joy of seeing them grow. It also guides me to look at gardening with a more scientific approach which only advances my gardening interest further.”

ADAPT Trial Results