We recently surveyed more than 200 mail-order seed companies from across the United States and Canada about how much organic seed they offer, how important organics are to their customers, whether they plan to offer more organics in the future, and what limitations they face in meeting the latter goal.
The response? Companies and customers alike are enthusiastic about organic seeds. About 75 percent of respondents plan to increase their organic offerings, and more than half said their customers prefer to buy organic seeds over conventionally grown seeds. However, many companies report that they face a few challenges in trying to increase their organic offerings. Many say they’re committed to offering all non-genetically modified, untreated seeds grown without pesticides, but sometimes their seeds aren’t certified organic.
Another challenge is finding consistent sources of high-quality, certified organic seed. The survey revealed a trend of companies seeking local suppliers for their organic seeds, in part to simply support local growers, but also because regionally grown seeds are well-adapted to their area. Some companies even reported that supporting local growers is more important to them than sourcing certified organic seed.
Check out the full organic seed survey report, which includes a list of seed companies with at least 25 percent organic stock and a list of regional resources for growers interested in producing organic seeds to sell to seed companies.
Shelley Stonebrook is MOTHER EARTH NEWS magazine’s main gardening editor. She’s passionate about growing healthy, sustainable food and taking care of our environment. Follow her on Twitter, Pinterest and Google+.