In the early 1980s, when I first began serious vegetable gardening, on an allotment in London, England, my father-in-law in Wisconsin sent me information about this group, who were into saving and distributing seed for heirloom varieties. Being something of a garden history geek, I was enchanted, and asked Pa to obtain some of their rarities and send them along. I recall there were corn, beans, and maybe a tomato variety. But it was all really exciting and a perfect complement to the membership I had with the UK’s Henry Doubleday Research Association, who had a similar program, and also promoted organic, raised bed gardening. That was my introduction to Seed Savers Exchange.
Over time, and our return to the USA, I found myself drawn ever deeper into the SSE web. Events at Heritage Farm, the group’s HQ in Decorah, Iowa; the people I have met and the staggering amount I have learned from them, have been a source of inspiration and encouragement in my life — gardening and generally.
Like so many endeavors, SSE began with a passion, and a mission, undertaken by founders, Diane Ott Whealy and her ex-husband, Kent, and then shared freely with people all over the world. SSE has truly created a gardening community to which all are welcome. And I am just as pleased as I can be that Diane and SSE will now be regular guest bloggers for Organic Gardening, and say “Welcome to our party.”