By JR Riegel
February is the time when most folks decide what they’ll be growing in the garden and it can be a tough decision with all the seed companies and varieties available. These days, there are so many seed companies supplying organic and heirloom seeds that few really stand out. The Family Farmers Seed Cooperative (FFSC) is a relative newcomer to the seed scene, but their farmer-owned approach truly sets them apart as a producer of high quality, open-pollinated, and community-supporting seed.
FFSC was founded in response to the increasing centralization and monopolization of the seed market. Currently, the Co-op includes farmers from New Mexico, Colorado, California, Oregon, Washington, North Dakota, and Nebraska. This variety of producers and climates ensures both a wide variety of seeds that are acclimatized to western and arid growing conditions and the autonomy and independence of producers inherent in the cooperative structure.
Each FFSC member farmer produces only organic, open-pollinated seed. Farmers select their favorite seeds to contribute to the Co-op, so all varieties have been tried, tested, and shown over time to give consistent germination and yields. Because the seeds are farmer favorites, there are a number of unique varieties that can’t be found anywhere else. In addition to these unique seeds, the FFSC produces many heirloom and public domain varieties in keeping with their mission of protecting our seed system from corporate control.
Since the founding of the Family Farmers Seed Cooperative about two years ago, La Montanita Co-op has been extensively involved in aiding their development. Our marketing department designed their packaging and graphical identity, and we’ve given over $5,000 in “seed money” to help them get started. This year, La Montanita is working to help bring FFSC seeds into other co-op stores across the western United States. FFSC has mostly been selling directly to farmers, and we’re excited to bring their terrific family farmed seeds into home gardens across the west.
If you haven’t already bought your seeds for this growing season, consider having a look at the FFSC seeds on display at your local co-op location. Depending on what varieties your location chooses to display, you might find a new and exciting vegetable variety to try! In addition to promoting organic, open-pollinated, and source-identified seed production, you’ll be getting locally- and regionally-grown seeds that support a community of farmers. If you want to help the Family Farmers Seed Cooperative grow, ask about them at any other co-ops you might frequent and see if they’re interested in carrying FFSC seed!
For more information on the FFSC and to learn about its member farms, please visit their website at http://www.organicseedcoop.com/
By Michael Jensen, Middle Rio Grande Urban Waters Ambassador
Water connects everything we do.
We drink it, bathe in it, wash our clothes and dishes in it. We water our yards and irrigate our crops with it. We swim in it, fish in it, paddle on it. We walk along it, watch birds and animals in and on it. People come here to visit or to live because of it – for the bird watching or the recreation opportunities or the chance for some solitude.
Water is our life blood. Read More
Edited by Robin Seydel
MIT researcher Dr. Stephanie Seneff has researched biology and technology for over three decades, publishing over 170 scholarly peer-reviewed articles. In recent years she has concentrated on the relationship between nutrition and health, tackling such topics as Alzheimer’s, autism, and cardiovascular diseases, as well as the impact of nutritional deficiencies and environmental toxins on human health. Read More
African Staple for Millennia: A Powerful Superfood
By Dr. Phyllis Hubbard
Why doesn’t anyone know about millet? What makes millet so special? Along with quinoa and amaranth, millet is a part of what I call “The Three Musketeers of Super Food Grains.” An African grain, millet is high in protein and digests ALKALINE (most grains digest acidic), which is essential for radiant health. This gluten free, heart-healthy grain is rich in manganese, tryptophan, magnesium and phosphorus. It is also very filling and great to eat as the main protein source of a meal or as a breakfast cereal. Read More
Seed Catalogs: Where Purple is the New Green
By Ari Levaux
Few pieces of reading material can fuel ambition like a seed catalog. They arrive in the mail during the darkest days of the year, offering warm hopes and delicious dreams of lush vegetation and tasty produce, a welcome contrast to the dismal, frigid conditions outside the window. I study seed catalogs with the obsession that an auto enthusiast would pour into Car & Driver, and the motivation that a climber feels when thumbing through Rock & Ice, and the focused passion I once reserved for another catalog that once came in the mail, from Sears. Read More