Behind the Scenes: Native Seeds/SEARCH

06.02.2023

Brittany Viar

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AN Introduction to Native Seeds/SEARCH

We’re so proud to introduce our give back partner, Native Seeds/SEARCH! They’re a nonprofit organization based in Tucson, AZ committed to protecting and fostering crop diversity in the southwest through sustainable farming and food security. When you purchase a bag of the Give Back Blend, a portion of proceeds directly benefit their organization.

“Native Seeds/SEARCH (NS/S) was founded in 1983 in response to the loss of traditional agricultural crop diversity of the U.S. southwest and northwest Mexico,” said Marketing and Development Director Lissa Marinaro. “By the founding of NS/S, according to the FAO (Food and Agriculture Organization), roughly 75% of the world’s plant genetic diversity had already been lost to farmers. The founders began collecting regional, arid-adapted seeds to grow and share with the public. Because these seeds represent the agricultural heritage of more than 50 Indigenous nations and agricultural communities, NS/S considers these communities key stakeholders and prioritizes their access to these seeds through our programs.”

Through surplus seed proceeds, Native Seeds/SEARCH is able to distribute seeds for free to Native American families and gardens. They focus on empowering communities through training in seed saving and farming techniques. The nonprofit’s name, “Native Seeds/SEARCH” honors its dedication to conserving native seeds that belonged to Native American communities. “SEARCH” represents their role as a resource for arid land agriculture and stands for “Southwestern Endangered Arid Land Resources Clearing House”.

“We save seed to conserve the agricultural biodiversity of the region, and to conserve the agricultural traditions of Indigenous and regional communities culturally connected to the seeds we steward,” Marinaro said.

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