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Participant Grower Program


You can help us grow. We are seeking responsible and experienced growers who are interested in maintaining some varieties for us, by growing them out, saving seed, returning a portion to us for our inventory and possible inclusion in the seed catalog. You may use seed you are already maintaining or seed we have specifically arranged for you to grow from our stock. In either case please make sure we have a clear arrangement at the beginning of the season. Please do not send quantities of unsolicited seed. If interested please contact us and we'll send you a participant grower form. Or if you know of a gardener, farmer or garden program that might be interested in working with us to preserve varieties please let them know about us.

Heirloom Tomato Field Project
The Eastern Native Seed Conservancy, as part of its Heirloom Tomato Field Project, has been exploring value added tomato production in Massachusetts and the adjoining region, from regionally grown tomatoes We are seeking resources that could be of help to us in furthering this project. Specifically we are seeking individuals who may have experience in value added production including drying, related business experience, marketing, packaging, equipment information etc.etc. We are fairly aware of state resources in Massachusetts but perhaps there are some other agencies from other states, non-profits etc. which could be of help

Rare seeds are everywhere.

Please help before its too late! Well maybe not everywhere. But in every town and city there still are some folks maintaining an old variety, often beans or tomatoes, that are on the verge of extinction. Typically these seeds are being grown by our elders and more often than not these seeds disappear with them. We have seen it plenty of times! If you read the stories about some of the seed varieties we have saved you will see that in almost every case the people who maintained these varieties can no longer do so. You can make a contribution to our conservation efforts by finding out if anyone is maintaining an old variety where you live and obtaining a sample of that seed. Or maybe there's a variety in your own family. We will help preserve these living treasures so future generations may enjoy them. Seven with one blow.

Maybe some of you know the fairy tale of the tailor who inscribed on his belt killed seven with one blow. Well we have a fairy tale of how we and some ordinary folks saved seven with one blow. Just this past May we learned of a gardener in Lee Massachusetts, Joe Valenti and his wife Fan who had been conserving some bean seeds for the last 58 years, brought by his grandfather from Italy.

When we got to Joe's place his wife ushered us into their house as if she had known us our whole lives. Laid out on their kitchen table were little piles of seven different beans. White beans, brown beans, striped beans-- some of them rare or even unique. We talked for a while. Talked about how his grandfather had come over on the boat. With beans in his pocket. Talked about how every year Joe kept those beans going. Talked about how things had changed in Joe's 88 years. Before we left he gave us a few more beans of each type. He told us not to worry about how they grew cause he'd give us more next year.

Well in summer Joe got sick. Too sick to take care of his beans. Then he got better. But no bean harvest that year. Fan said it was the first time in 58 years he didn't grow those beans. 58 years! Can you imagine? Right now Joe's in the hospital again. We pray that Joe gets better so he can spend another 50 years with Fan. We are grateful that Joe saved those beans all these years so we could come along before he got sick and help preserve them. And if all goes well maybe you can grow some of Joe's beans one day.

Please thank Joe.

P.O. Box 451
Great Barrington, Massachusetts 01230