Gardeners now have a new online marketplace on which to browse and buy organic seeds. Launched in May 2014 by co-founders Luke Callahan and Ryder Ross, SeedWise is the first platform that connects multiple small-scale organic seed growers directly with consumers.
The innovative website is based on a farmers market model, in which customers can browse the offerings of a diversity of small-scale producers. Many seed growers find it incredibly difficult to make a living by selling their seed wholesale to larger seed companies, Callahan says, so, to help remedy that problem, SeedWise wanted to give growers an accessible avenue for finding retail customers and receiving fair compensation for their work. The site easily allows gardeners to buy seeds online from as many growers as they choose, and then the orders go immediately — and directly — to those growers.
He says the team also wanted to foster transparency. “We believe that organic farmers and gardeners deserve to know where their seed comes from. They deserve to know who grew it, where it was grown, and what practices were used to keep each variety strong,” Callahan says. “People who depend on high-quality seed for their livelihood know they can’t afford to buy cheap seed. We’re providing some of the accountability that is so needed in the seed industry.”
Right now, you can browse the offerings of about 20 farms on SeedWise, and the website is growing every week. Start shopping for next spring’s garden seeds today. Or, if you’re a small-scale seed grower who wants to know how to sell seeds online, go to SeedWise’s seller info page to get details on how you can set up a farmer profile and list your varieties.
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+.