10 Best Companies for Organic, Heirloom Seeds

April 28, 2018 at 12:39 pm

Steer clear of Monsanto-owned garden seeds and support companies doing the most good for the planet

If you buy seeds that aren’t organic, open pollinated or heirlooms, you are most likely buying from a Monsanto-owned company called Seminis.

Seminis has been buying up patents on most nursery seed varieties like Early Girl and Better Boy tomatoes for decades. Even if the particular seeds you choose from this company aren’t GMO, you’re still sending money back to Monsanto.

The only way to be sure you’re not buying genetically modified seed is to buy organic, heirloom or open pollinated seed from companies who take the Safe Seed Pledge.

While there are hundreds of companies that have signed the Safe Seed Pledge, the Small Footprint Family highlights the following ten because “they each have something extra special about their mission, their catalog, or their business practices that fosters greater sustainability for people and planet.”

“Each of these companies specialize in rare seed preservation, or they are employee-owned, or they focus on seeds that are adapted to a particular climate,” writes Dawn GIfford, author of the Small Footprint Family blog and the book
Sustainability Starts at Home: How to Save Money While Saving the Planet.

1. Seed Savers Exchange

The Seed Savers Exchange is a non-profit working to save heirloom garden seeds from extinction. Their focus is on preserving varieties gardeners and farmers brought to North America when their families immigrated here, along with traditional varieties grown by Native Americans, Mennonites and the Amish.

You can find almost extinct varieties of fruits, veggies and grains in their amazing annual yearbook, and all the money you spend goes to helping protect seed biodiversity.

2. Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds

Baker Creek is a family-owned business offering over 1,800 varieties of vegetables, flowers and herbs—one of the largest selections of heirloom varieties in the U.S.

They specialize in rare and hard-to-find heirloom seeds from over 75 different countries. The company’s mission is to promote and preserve our agricultural and culinary heritage.

3. Clear Creek Seeds

Clear Creek is a small, family-owned business specializing exclusively in open-pollinated, heirloom seed varieties, including flowers, herbs and vegetables. They also offer several variety packs for even more value, like the Pollinator Pack and the Salsa Pack.

They have a smaller selection, but provide warm, highly personal customer service, great prices and fast delivery.

4. Southern Exposure Seed Exchange

Southern Exposure Seed Exchange specializes in vegetables, flower, herb, grain and cover crop seeds that perform well in the Mid-Atlantic and Southeast. They offer many unusual Southern heirlooms, such as yacon, amaranths including peanuts, southern peas, naturally colored cotton, collards, okra, roselle, turnip greens, corns for roasting and meal, and butterbeans.

5. Fedco Seeds

Fedco is a cooperative business where members own up to 60 percent of the company. Because profit isn’t its primary goal, their products are quite affordable.

Fedco evaluates hundreds of varieties of hybrid, open-pollinated and heirloom seeds and plants at multiple sites, identifying the ones that are particularly productive, flavorful and suited to the northeastern U.S. climate.

6. Renee’s Garden Seeds

The owner of this small company personally selects and sells only the varieties that are very special for home gardeners, based on great flavor, easy culture and exceptional garden performance. All their seeds are time-tested heirlooms, the best international hybrids or fine open-pollinated varieties tested and guaranteed for every major U.S. climate zone.

The individually written seed packets offer beautiful watercolor portraits, with personally written descriptions, complete growing instructions, a quick-view planting chart, growing tips, harvesting information and cooking ideas:

7. Peaceful Valley

Peaceful Valley is dedicated to organic food production, carrying a large assortment of veggie seeds, cover crops, native grasses, pasture and lawn seed, wildflowers, fruit trees and berries, potatoes, onions and garlic. They also offer a great selection of gardening tools, pest control, season-extending products, composting supplies, growing, propagating and irrigation equipment, and books.

Peaceful Valley offers special pricing programs for farmers, school gardens and landscaping businesses.

8. Johnny’s Selected Seeds

Johnny’s is a large, well-known employee-owned seed company that has more than 1,200 varieties of hybrid, open pollinated and heirloom vegetables, medicinal, culinary herbs and flowers. If you are homesteading, farming or market gardening, they offer large quantities of seed, as well as a variety of cover crops to keep your soil in good shape.

Johnny’s also has high quality gardening tools, equipment and accessories, cover crop seed, soil amendments and organic pest control products. Their extensive site and catalog is full of detailed growing instructions and helpful tips, even if you don’t buy seeds from them.

9. Territorial Seed Company

Territorial Seed is a large, family-owned company whose mission is to improve people’s self-sufficiency and independence through gardening. They offer hybrid, open-pollinated and heirloom seed varieties.

Territorial’s germination standards are higher than prescribed by the Federal Seed Act and their farm is certified USDA Organic, Biodynamic® by Demeter USA, and Salmon-Safe by Salmon-Safe Inc. They have a 100% satisfaction guarantee.

10. Seeds of Change

Seeds of Change was acquired by the Mars company, which has supported GMOs in their food products. Unfortunately, since the demand for organic products is so high, many organic brands have been bought out by large corporations.

However, Seeds of Change is the only organic, open-pollinated seed company available at mainstream stores nationwide, like Home Depot, Lowe’s, Walmart and Whole Foods.