Seed Savers Exchange, Frustrations

First and foremost, I believe strongly in the stated mission of the Seed Savers Exchange. I recommend everyone join and become a member.

With that said, I have become frustrated by some of the decisions being made at Heritage Farm. Since I believe firmly that public discussion is one of the strongest means for change, I offer the following.

Membership fees have gone up to $40.00 per year, but I am struggling to see where the additional money is being spent. For example, Seed Savers for the first time, undertook an online version of the yearbook. I strongly supported this decision, but, as near as I can tell, the online yearbook was created by a single person. I’m not criticizing this person, but the online yearbook transition was not without some significant bumps. Only when I received my printed yearbook did I notice that my profile was truncated. Leaving my last sentence stating, “… but I don’t offer any seed” Sort of an amusing statement.

This year without notifying the listed members, the suggested seed price went up to $3.00 per sample even for listed members. This seems extreme and apparently a lot of other members feel the same way. I understand that most of us are requesting rare seeds that can only be found within the yearbook. However, I also know that a lot of us list common varieties that can be found in virtually any commercial seed catalog. Many listed members are also like myself amateurs and seed quality often suffers significantly. Even the professionals aren’t perfect. Last year I made my largest requests from Heritage Farms, almost half of which failed to germinate at all. I am aware that much of the seed is stored for years, but I shouldn’t need laboratory conditions to get the seed to germinate. Bottom line is that we are exchanging seed between ourselves. It is unlikely that anyone is making a living from their requests. We simply want to cover the cost of shipping which is certainly less than $3.00.

For anyone requesting seed from Glenn Welker, in Ohio.

  • I will send LQ seed to any member, listed or not. LQ is just that, I have limited quantities.
  • My prices will be kept at 2009 pricing. $2.00 small seed, listed member. $3.00 small seed, non-listed member.
  • The corrected last line of my profile should have read. “I do not isolate my tomatoes but I don’t offer any seed from tomatoes which exhibit extended styles. This includes all beefsteak and currant tomatoes.”

Seed Savers Exchange discussion points

  • Please, give the online version of the yearbook proper support. It is still a mess in many areas. I have offered multiple times with suggestions on how to improve the site with no response.
  • I am still uncomfortable with the Svalbard Seed Vault. Thoughts?
  • Lots of turn over in the Director position. Is this musical chair bit really necessary?
  • There are many ways which you can improve and expand the original mission of SSE. For example, the events at Heritage Farms often knowledge and access that few of us have access to. I have previously requested the recording of seminars, like the Apple Grafting seminar coming up this spring. I’m not sure expanding in the direction of livestock is what the members have in mind. I support this diversity on the farm, but not if it takes away from the plant resources.
  • Others?

I would love to hear other member’s opinions.