Posted on Apr 16, 2012 in Community Resources, Featured Projects

Seven Seeds Farm

Siskiyou Seeds operates at our family farm, Seven Seeds Farm. We have been growing certified organic seed for many national scale mail order seed companies for the past 15 years. We are fairly unique within the world of seed companies in that we actually produce much of the seed ourselves, as opposed to most companies that buy most (or all) of their seed from multinational corporate seed houses, many of whom also produce genetically engineered vegetable seeds.

In addition to commercial seed production, Seven Seeds Farm produces biodynamic fruits and vegetables that we distribute through a cooperative Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) program called the Siskiyou Sustainable Cooperative (www.siskiyoucoop.com) in the Rogue Valley. We also raise ducks, chickens, turkeys, and sheep. Seven Seeds hosts numerous on-farm classes and workshops in a variety of sustainable agriculture related topics. To see a current listing of workshops at Seven Seeds and classes that Don Tipping will be teaching in southern Oregon please see our classes page.

About our site: We are located at 2,000 elevation, 43 degrees North latitude. Our average frost free season is from June 1st until October 15th. We are technically a Zone 7 site, however this can fluctuate. Summers are hot and dry with high temperatures in the upper 90’s or low 100’s not uncommon. Our evenings are cool in summer due to our arid, mountain environment. Winters are cool and rainy with periodic cold snaps down into the teens or below. Our average rainfall is 42″ per year, coming mostly between October and May.

Although we are blessed with abundant summer sun here in the banana belt of southern Oregon, the Siskiyous can be a challenging place to garden with our winter rainforest, summer desert climate of harsh extremes. The varieties that we offer in this catalog have proven themselves through years of homesteading filling countless harvest baskets and serving as the foundation for many nourishing meals.

Now is the time! There is tremendous opportunity for the renaissance of the bioregional seedsman/woman to select and breed varieties for organic agriculture. I am committed to the notion that well-selected, open-pollinated seeds can outperform commercially available hybrids. Through focusing on this crucial work, we can cooperate with gardeners and farmers to address the agronomic challenges that we will all face as climate change shifts microclimates in North America. Population breeding with special attention to horizontal resistance will hopefully alleviate the hardships growers experience with plant diseases, pests and climatic stress.

Careful attention to plant selection for seed saving can contribute to the improvement of important traits such as disease resistance, pest tolerance, climate adaptation, flavor and nutrition. Domestication is not an endpoint. Rather it is a relationship that is ongoing and can go in different directions. We are much more concerned with breeding plants that will foster healthy food for people, rather than traits such as ship-ability and shelf life. When we consider the concept of food security I find it logical that seed security should receive equal attention especially considering the threats of genetic engineering and the corporate consolidation of the seed industry. Much of the seed currently available from the traditional seed houses is increasingly coming from overseas and every year hundreds of valuable varieties are dropped from production. Consider that in the last 13 years over 200 regional seed companies have disappeared in our country and that Monsanto is now the largest vegetable seed company in the world, having bought up other large seed companies such as Seminis and Peto. Bioregional seed banks and distribution networks will emerge as one of the more important stores of wealth in the future. Anyone want to buy futures in seeds? Let’s get planting!