Sources of Organic and Untreated Non-GMO Seeds

Introduction

Organic farmers are required by USDA-NOP regulations to use organic seeds and planting stock when commercially available. They can use non-organic, untreated seeds when organic seeds are not available in the form, quality, or quantity they need. Annual seedlings must be organic; only the USDA Secretary can grant a variance for seedlings. Perennials can be started from non-organic stock, but must be raised organically for one year before any crop is harvested as organic. Seeds, seedlings, and planting stock that have been treated with prohibited substances are allowed only if required by federal or state phytosanitary regulations. Organic sprouts can only be produced using organic seed. In no case are genetically engineered seed varieties allowed. (See 7CFR 205.105(e) and 205.204 for exact regulatory text.) Growers in the southern states have limited regional organic seed sources. Most of them buy seed from other states.

Regional Seed Resources

The Save Our Seed Project is a unique regional resource created in response to the limited availability of organic and open-pollinated heirloom seed. Save our Seed is working to increase the availability of regionally adapted, open-pollinated, certified organic seed and to develop a southern seed network.

This project has published a series of seed production manuals: The Bean Seed Production Manual; The Tomato Seed Production Manual; The Isolation Distance Guide; The Seed Processing and Storage Manual, and the Organic Brassica Seed Production Guide. Each guide provides details for production of organic seeds in the Southeast. Save our Seed also maintains a current database of more than 100 organic seed sources and assists growers in determining whether the seeds they seek are commercially available.

Contact:
Cricket Rakita
Save our Seed Project
286 Dixie Hollow
Louisa, VA 23093
540-894-8865
cricket@savingourseed.org
www.savingourseeds.org
(seed production guides and seed source database)

The Southern Seed Legacy, a membership association, was developed to recover, save, and increase the diversity of heirloom plants and traditional knowledge of the American South. More than 400 varieties of heirloom seeds, with photos, are posted on their Web site, www.uga.edu/ %7Eebl/southernheirloom; email: ebl@uga.edu.

The Seedsaving and Seedsavers’ Resources Web page provides manylinks to sources for heirloom and non-GE seeds, information and resources for saving seeds, and seed exchange networks. Links are from the U.S., several European countries, the U.K., and Australia.homepage.tinet.ie/~merlyn/seedsaving.html

The ATTRA publication Suppliers of Seed for Certified Organic Production has been updated and is now in the form of a searchable on-line database. The database provides sources for organic seed for agronomic and horticultural crops. Some national mail-order suppliers of untreated seed are included, with emphasis on small, alternative seed companies offering open-pollinated vegetable, flower, and herb seed. Farmers can contact their certifying agents or state departments of agriculture to find out whether these agencies can supply lists of organic seed sources. www.attra.ncat.org

The Organic Materials Review Institute (OMRI) lists some sources of organic seed. For grain growers interested in using local, bin-run organic seed, see the ATTRA publication Marketing Organic Grains for a regionally balanced list. The ATTRA publication Seed Production and Variety Development for Organic Systems discusses additional seed sources. The buyer needs to ask to see the seed supplier’s documentation, including organic certification. www.omri.org/OMRI_SEED_list.html

Companies Selling Organic Seeds: Source List

The Southern Organic Resource Guide does not endorse any seed companies, but we have made an effort to compile a comprehensive listing of organic seed sources to assist organic producers. Organic farmers in the South provided most of the listings. Inclusion or omission on this list is neither a statement of endorsement nor an implied criticism. Growers are encouraged to visit listed Web sites; many include extensive seed supplier lists. Companies are listed in alphabetical order.

  1. Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds
    2278 Baker Creek Road
    Mansfield, MO 65704
    417-924-8917
    417-924-8887 FAX
    www.rareseeds.com
    Products: Untreated non- GMO heirloom vegetable seeds from around the world

  2. Cook’s Garden
    P.O. Box C5030
    Warminster, PA 18974
    800-457-9703
    800-457-9705 FAX
    www.cooksgarden.com
    Products: Certified organic and untreated non-GMO vegetable seeds

  3. Fedco Seeds
    P.O. Box 520
    Waterville, ME 04903
    207-873-7333
    207-872-8317 FAX
    www.fedcoseeds.com
    Products: Certified organic and biodynamic seeds, untreated and non-GMO vegetable seeds, certified organic onion sets, specialty potatoes and fingerlings, and Jerusalem artichokes

  4. Filaree Farm
    182 Conconully Hwy.
    Okanogan, WA 98840
    509-422-6940
    info@filareefarm.com
    www.filareefarm.com
    Products: Certified organic garlic cloves

  5. Harris Seeds—Organic and Untreated Seeds for the Professional Grower
    355 Paul Rd.
    P.O. Box 24966
    Rochester, NY 14624-0966
    800-544-7938
    www.harrisseeds.com
    Products: Certified organic and untreated non-GMO vegetable seeds, OMRI listed and NOP National List pesticides, small vegetable production supplies

  6. High Mowing Seeds
    813 Brook Rd.
    Wolcott, Vermont 05680
    802-888-1800
    802-888-8446 FAX
    www.highmowingseeds.com
    Products: 100% certified organic vegetables seeds

  7. Horizon Herbs
    P.O. Box 69
    Williams, OR 97544
    541-846-6704
    541-846-6233 FAX
    herbseed@chatlink.com
    www.chatlink.com/~herbseed
    Products: Certified organic and untreated native medicinal herbs of the world

  8. Johnny’s Selected Seeds
    1 Foss Hill Road
    RR 1, Box 2580
    Albion, ME 04910-9731
    207-437-4395
    (commercial orders)
    207-437-4301
    (home gardeners)
    800-437-4290 FAX
    homegarden@johnnyseeds.com
    (home gardeners)
    www.johnnyseeds.com
    Products: Certified organic and untreated non-GMO vegetable seeds, small vegetable equipment and machinery, OMRI listed and NOP National List pesticides

  9. Lakeview Farm
    44200 Hwy. BB
    Middletown, MO 63359
    573-549-2231
    Products: Certified organic cover crop seeds (hairy vetch, clovers, rye, and buckwheat), certified soybeans, corn, oats, and sunflowers seeds

  10. Milk Ranch Specialty
    Potatoes, L.L.C.
    20094 Highway 149
    Powderhorn, CO 81243
    970-641-5634
    970-642-0471 FAX
    craig@milkranch.com
    www.milkranch.com
    Products: Certified organic potatoes and specialty fingerlings

  11. Morgan County Wholesale Seeds
    18761 Kelsey Rd.
    Barnett, MO 65011-3009
    513-378-2655
    Products: Untreated non- GMO vegetable seeds, vegetable production supplies and equipment, soil amendments, and pesticides

  12. The Natural Gardening Company
    P.O. Box 750776
    Petaluma, CA 94975-0776
    707-766-9303
    707-766-9747 FAX
    info@naturalgardening.com
    www.naturalgardening.com
    Products: Certified organic and untreated non-treated vegetables seeds

  13. Organica Seed Co.
    P.O. Box 611
    Wilbraham MA 01095
    413-599-0396
    office@organicaseed.com
    www.organicaseed.com
    Products: Certified organic vegetables, herb, cotton, and cover crops seeds

  14. Sand Hill Preservation Center
    1878 230th Street
    Calamus, Iowa 52729-9659
    563-246-2299
    sandhill@fbcom.net
    www.sandhillpreservation.com
    Products: Heirloom untreated vegetables seeds, sweet potatoes, plants, and poultry

  15. Seeds of Change
    P.O. Box 15700
    Santa Fe, NM 87596-5700
    888-762-7333 (orders)
    866-339-3876 (technical questions)
    www.seedsofchange.com/
    Products: Certified organic and untreated non-GMO heirloom vegetable seeds

  16. Seed Savers
    3094 North Winn Road
    Decorah, IA 52101-7776
    563-382-5990
    563-382-5872 FAX
    www.seedsavers.org
    Products: Certified organic and untreated non-GMO vegetable seeds

  17. Southern Exposure Seed Exchange
    P.O. Box 460
    Mineral, VA 23117
    540-894-9480
    540-894-9481 FAX
    www.southernexposure.com
    Products: Certified organic and untreated non-GMO heirloom and open-pollinated vegetable, herb, and flower seeds, certified organic peanut seeds, and garlic

  18. Territorial Seed Company
    P.O. Box 158
    Cottage Grove, OR 97424
    800-626-0866
    888-657-3131 FAX
    www.territorialseed.com
    Products: Certified organic and untreated non-GMO vegetable seeds

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