February 2006

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Customer Comments

General Manager's Report

Bylaw Committee

Board Report: Audit, Sales, Nominations, and More

Produce News

Grocery News

Deli News

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Floral News

Producer Profile: Willy Street Co-op Off Site Kitchen

Healthy Convenience Foods

Making the Switch to a Whole Foods-Vegetarian Diet

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Gardening News

Seeds Savers Available this Year

by Amanda Biederman, Housewares/Floral Buyer

Many shoppers will remember Willy Street Co-op carrying seeds from Seeds of Change in the past years. Since this company started in 1989, it has experienced tremendous growth and is now owned by M&M Mars Company. Seeds of Change supports open-pollinated and organically grown seeds, as well as education in sustainable agriculture, and while the Willy Street Co-op applauds their persisting vision, we have decided to carry seeds from Seed Savers Exchange this coming season for several reasons including growing practices, seed history and heritage, and agricultural location. Seed Savers Exchange is proud to offer only open-pollinated, heirloom varieties that are not genetically modified. Their mission is to save the world’s diverse, but endangered, garden heritage for future generations by building a network of people committed to collecting, conserving and sharing heirloom seeds and plants, while educating people about the value of genetic and cultural diversity.

About Seed Savers

Seed Savers Exchange is a nonprofit, tax-exempt organization of gardeners and plant collectors who are saving and sharing “heirloom” (handed-down) seeds that farmers brought to North America when their families immigrated. Since Seed Savers was founded in 1975, members have distributed an estimated one million samples of rare garden seeds, which are now being widely used by alternative seed companies, farmers markets, chefs and CSA growers. Heritage Farm is headquarters to SSE’s 890-acre garden near Decorah, Iowa, and was certified organic in 2001 by the Iowa Department of Agriculture, both as an organic seed producer and processor, in accordance with the USDA’s national organic standards. Seed Savers Exchange and Heritage Farm have provided the models for genetic preservation projects and organizations in more that 30 countries.

Tailored to our soil

While many understand that supporting small farms and local agriculture is essential to our food security, little focus is put on local seed production. Seed Savers Exchange is operated right out of Iowa, while most of the seed from Seeds of Change is from New Mexico and Central America. All of the seed from SSE is open-pollinated which means you can save seed from your most successful plants for planting the following year. By doing this, you are developing a strain best suited to your soil and climate, and since Iowa is so close to us regionally, this whole process has already been started for you. Another major factor in the decision for switching is the savings that will be passed on to our shoppers. Seed Savers Exchange will be selling their seeds at $2.15 per pack compared to Seeds of Change, which sells their seeds for up to $2.50 per pack.

Seed requests

We hope that your growing season is a successful one this year, and if you have any questions or special requests for a particular seed, please contact Amanda Biederman, buyer in the Gardening department, at 608-251-6776 or by contacting us.