Using the Seed Exchange

What is the Exchange?
Who can use the Exchange?
What is available on the Exchange?

What is the Exchange?

The Exchange is a seed swap, where gardeners from around the country offer seeds they've grown ("homegrown seeds"). The Exchange is facilitated by Seed Savers Exchange, a nonprofit dedicated to preserving and sharing heirloom seeds. The organization started with the sharing of seeds within a small group of people in 1975 and has continued to expand over the last 40+ years. The Exchange you findhere is a continuation of that tradition and facilitates the sharing and preservation of seeds amongst gardeners.

The organization maintains a Seed Bank containing over 25,000 varieties at their headquarters in Decorah, Iowa. Some of the varieties from the Bank are distributed in the Exchange and 600+ varieties are made commercially available to the public in the organization's seed catalog. The revenue from the seed sales, aswell as donations and memberships, serve to maintain the organization''s collection and promote and encourage the tradition of saving and sharing seeds.

Why does it matter?

Participants in the Exchange have saved thousands of rare heirlooms from extinction by connecting with new seed stewards to carry on seed saving traditions to the next generation. Many of the heirlooms that have entered the marketplace in recent years were shared here first, and many more heirlooms are still only found in the gardens of this community.

This grassroots seed-saving community is saving and sharing America’s gardening heritage for future generations. The more people that participate, the stronger it will be. Please join!

Who can use the Exchange?

Anyone can browse the Exchange, but you must have an account on the Exchange to request or list seeds. Sign up here.

What is available on the Exchange and what can I list?

Exchange community members offer thousands of homegrown, heirloom and open-pollinated seeds to other Exchange members. “Homegrown” simply means the seeds were not grown by a commercial operation. We define "heirloom" as a seed that has been passed down from generation to generation within communities and families.

All of the seeds offered by Exchange listers are open-pollinated and non-hybrid - if you grow these seeds into mature plants, the plants will produce seeds that you can harvest and plant again next year. They are also non-patented, meaning that they can be grown, saved, and shared freely. Many, but not all, of Exchange listers offer organically-grown seed.

You'll also find potato tubers, garlic bulbs, apple tree cuttings, and other non-seed material for propagating new plants within the Exchange.

Reserve your Yearbook

The 2021 Yearbook is the print edition of the Exchange, our gardener-to-gardener seed swap. Request your copy today.

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