Legacy Donors

Made Possible By The 1772 Foundation

Over the past 40 years, Seed Savers Exchange has collected heirloom varieties of fruits, vegetables, herbs, and flowers. A small group of 41 seed savers have contributed 25% of the varieties in Seed Savers Exchange's collection of over 25,000 heirloom and historic commercial varieties. In addition to the contribution of seeds and plants to Seed Savers Exchange, many of the these Legacy Donors have been instrumental in the movement to preserve heirloom seeds and plants in this country, making their personal legacies an important piece of American gardening history.

With help from The 1772 Foundation, we were able to spend a year preserving some of their stories. This group of gardening masterminds comes from all backgrounds—farmers, yes, but also artists, teachers, factory workers, lawyers, and homesteaders. In their spare time they have tracked down, stewarded—and sometimes saved entirely—exceedingly rare varieties. Some started out of curiosity, some out of frugality, some in search of the best-tasting tomato. We hope their stories will leave you excited, and inspired to get your hands into your garden soil.

Bios written by Kelly Loud.

Video editing by Kelly Loud.

Interviews and correspondence by Katie Gove, Kelly Loud, Sara Straate, Molly Thompson, Tor Janson, Zack Row-Heyveld, and Toby Cain.

Special thanks to the following people: Bill Minkey; David Cavagnaro; George, Jerreth, and Emily McLaughlin; Kathleen and Bryce Plunkett-Black; Jim and Kathryn Tjepkema; John Coykendall and Ashley Valentine; Mike Washburn; John Swenson; Ron, Joshua, and Pam Thuma; Jack Bohannan at Flint Hills Wildlife Refuge; and Russ Crow.

This exhibit and the preservation work along with it was made possible by a grant from The 1772 Foundation: