Sharing is Caring

  You know when you buy a packet of seeds and sometimes you get 2000 seeds of the same variety for a buck or two? Who needs 2000 heads of romaine lettuce from their home garden in one season? No one! Now my buddy has 1500 broccoli seeds, his friend has 1000 carrot seeds, and someone they are connected to but don’t really know has 800 butternut squash seeds. If each person of this group of one veggie wonders shared with the other 3 some of what they each have in excess, it looks like we have a seed CO-OP going, and everyone will be having the soup and salad combo instead of too much of their one veggie. Yes, I know… It’s stupid simple, but seriously why wouldn’t we want to do that?

Sharing seeds amongst gardeners has been done for centuries. Trading is actually a more accurate description. Traders traveled far and wide introducing non-native plants and adding variety to diets around the world well before grocery stores and huge farms existed. Variety is the spice of life right? Right!

So here’s how our “Grow and Eat It! Seed CO-OP” is going to work: Members will compile a master list of all of the seed varieties and quantities they have available for trade, and note how many they would like to have of other member’s offering via a common spreadsheet stored online. The goal is for all of us to share to increase the variety of seeds we have to plant each season in our gardens. Everybody has more options in their gardens and menus, and everybody spends less on seeds because there is less waste!

  We will all have some time before the time to plant comes to plan our gardens if everyone lists what they have early enough. The CO-OP facilitator, Dave Palmer (this time) will compile a master list of who wants what and arrange a flow of mailing that makes the most financial sense. It’s possible that everyone might only have to mail one envelope of seeds if the chain is well organized. For it to work, everyone must CO-OPerate and do their part when the time comes. 

The most it should cost is a couple of bucks per person to share and receive a wide variety of seeds. Why should we all buy the same seeds separately and have a bunch left over when we could each buy a few types of seeds and end up with a much wider variety? Trading seeds just makes sense! 

There are only a few rules:

  1. Non-GMO seeds only
  2. No old seeds (previous year or newer only for best germination results)
  3. Ship within 48 hours of receipt of your seeds or instructions from the facilitator.

Depending on the group size, we could all be ready to plant in a week or two from compilation of the master list. We look forward to enjoying the benefits of seed sharing with you all! To join the CO-OP look for the post for the upcoming growing season in our Facebook group at Grow and Eat It!

Dave Palmer

Dave Palmer is the owner and operator of Florida Farmers Market & Cafe in Paxton, FL. As a volunteer he serves as a guest educator for middle school agriculture students at Paxton School (K-12) teaching a hands on approach to plant science as well as the business of growing and selling organic plants and produce. His focus is, no surprise, growing food and eating it!