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EFN Rare Seed Saving & Increases

For volunteers anywhere interested in being mailed seeds or other plant material to be grown out. You will be asked to mail back seeds at the completion of the growing season.

EFN organizers have been building an impressive collection of rare seeds for nearly a decade. Most varieties come from government or private seed banks, while plenty were purchased from small seed companies, given to us by individuals, or in a few cases collected from the wild.

We could not possibly steward all of these rare varieties ourselves -- not only do we lack the time, but with just a few pieces of land at our disposal, we could never keep all of these varieties from cross-pollinating with each other. That's why we need volunteers. 

Depending on how much space you have available and your experience level, you might be sent just one or two packets of seeds, or you might be sent a dozen different seed packets along with a couple grape cuttings and some garlic bulbs. Most people will be sent annuals, but if your circumstances permit it, we might want to send you some perennials too.

Ultimately we hope this project will become something of a de-centralized seed bank, or perhaps more aptly a centralized seed bank with a de-centralized variety maintenance strategy, focused on preserving diverse landraces, hard-to-find old varieties, crop wild relatives, and potential perennial crops.

Joining this project is not a guarantee that you will be sent seeds, but we will try our best to send something to everyone.

Researcher background
Nate Kleinman and Dusty Hinz are the co-founders of EFN.
Are you seeking volunteer growers or other types of volunteers?
Yes, seeking volunteer growers
How many volunteers do you need?
What will you ask volunteers to do?
Grow out rare plant varieties, keep them isolated (as required), harvest seed or other propagative material (germplasm), and send germplasm back to EFN organizers. Certain growouts may require more in depth work, including hand-pollination, data collection, complicated seed processing, etc.
Other requirements of volunteers?
Volunteers must be willing to prioritize EFN growouts. For instance, if you usually grow 'Trinidad Scorpion' peppers but EFN sends you a rare Syrian sweet pepper, we will expect you to grow only the Syrian pepper in order to ensure they don't get crossed.
Is this a multi-year project?
Can volunteers expect to be able to keep some germplasm (seeds, bulbs, cuttings, spores, etc) at the close of the project?
Yes, of course
Anything else?
Even if you've signed up to EFN in previous years, please join this project if you'd like to continue receiving seeds.
Researcher Location

United States

Project Updates

New to group

project update by
Saturday, January 7, 2023 - 01:20

I am a back yard gardener and have love growing new varieties and am very interested in helping save seed diversity. How can I get involved in this program?

Awesome Network of Growers

project update by
Friday, July 26, 2019 - 03:31

This is such a great community. I would be glad to help in anyway possible. I have a small urban home/garden, as well as access to a larger plot of mixed woodland area I could grow some things on.