The D. Landreth Seed Company has been around since 1784 and is billed as America’s oldest seed company. Last week the company announced that their loan has been called in and their accounts had been frozen. So they launched a campaign to raise one million dollars by selling copies of their 2012 heirloom seed catalog to raise the necessary funds in 30 days or they’d have to close forever. What this means for gardeners is a loss of another independent seed seller, one who carries heirloom seed varieties the big seed companies don’t, and the further shrinking of our seed supply.
But what does this mean for people like readers of Under The Tuscan Gun and viewers of the cooking show, Extra Virgin, with Debi Mazar and Gabriele Corcos?
As cooks and food lovers you understand that the best meals come from using the finest ingredients. Those ingredients come from seeds that have been handed down through generations and preserved by gardeners and seed companies, like Landreth, who keep the supply alive. Right now you may buy your ingredients at grocery stores or farmers markets, but what happens if one day you decide you want your food to taste fresher and dive into growing some of your own herbs and vegetables? You’ll no doubt start researching where to buy seeds from and maybe find that you can’t find the seeds for what you want to cook with. This is the result of losing small, heirloom seed companies and the consolidation of our seed supply in this country.
This isn’t an issue that only affects gardeners because this goes beyond just pretty flowers and extends into vegetables that are listed on Slow Food’s Ark of Taste. Foods that are in danger of extinction. Yes, fruits and vegetables can go extinct if nobody is selling their seed, nobody is growing them. It affects the preservation of the culinary history of African-Americans. It takes down another woman-owned business. It kills part of America’s history. We lose one more seed company acting a barrier between us and monocultures and GMOs. And one day you’ll see the effects on your dinner plate.
You can join the campaign to save America’s oldest seed company by visiting the Landreth Seeds website and ordering a catalog for $5.00.