Information about Grassroots Seed Network

About
What We Do
Why We're Here
Contact Information
Donations
Board Members
Customization Wish List

What We Do

We are a newly formed seed exchange.  We are a democratically governed, non-profit organization.  We hope to improve the listing process, but we encourage you to list a few varieties now, and to place requests, and to send us any questions or comments that might help us improve this site.

Our old website, grassrootsseednetwork.org, has hundreds of variety listings, which we have recently started transferring to this site.  There is a noteworthy concentration of listers in Maine and the Northeast, and also some listers across the United States. We hope to expand to better represent the various regions of the US, and to include international members.

We are here to facilitate both online seed requests and requests sent through the mail.  Members who accept requests through the mail are encouraged to list full addresses, which will then show up when you click the red dot on the member's profile map.

The Board of Directors is:
- composed of entirely of listers who are engaged in saving and sharing seeds
- elected by the listers who save and share seeds through GSN
- always open to hearing ideas and feedback from listers
- committed to keeping fees low
- working to maximize the transparency of the organization

For guidelines, membership categories, and suggested prices, please see "How it works".  Our bylaws are available as a pdf here.

This web platform (Sharetribe) is designed with commissions in mind.  However, the Grassroots Seed Network organization was set up with dues in mind, before we started using the Sharetribe platform.   If you create an account on this site now, we might contact you later about $15 dues.

Why We're Here

The mission of the The mission of the Grassroots Seed Network is to democratically facilitate the exchange and preservation of open-pollinated seeds and seed-saving information.

There has been an alarming rate of consolidation in the seed industry, to a point where a very few international chemical corporations control a large percentage of the world’s commercial seed supply.   
This graphic shows one recent period of this consolidation in the US:

Seed Industry Consolidation



Meanwhile, many farmers and gardeners around the world continue to save seeds. Some save seeds that were passed down from their ancestors; some save seeds as a way of regaining self-sufficiency; some find a variety they love in a catalog and start saving seeds when that variety becomes commercially unavailable; some save seeds as a hobby; some breed new varieties. Some save only a variety or two; some have collections of hundreds of varieties. Many seed-savers are elderly; some have not yet come of age. Some have no e-mail addresses; some expect to find all the information they want online.  We hope to connect people across each of these spectra.

The number of seed-savers is diminishing, and as a result, we have lost countless open-pollinated crop varieties.  As we continue to lose varieties, we lose flavors, crop genetic diversity, a certain sense of history, and crops' resilience to various disease and climactic pressures.

The Grassroots Seed Network aims to:
- facilitiate the exchange of rare, heirloom, and other open-pollinated varieties between individuals who save seeds
- offer a level of crop diversity beyond that found in most seed catalogs, just as most seed catalogs offer a level of crop diversity beyond that found in most supermarkets. 
- facilitate discussion and education about varieties and about seeds savers' diverse methods and reasons for saving seeds
- make it easier for a small-scale producer of seeds to get their name out and start selling, thus countering the trend of industry consolidation
- work synergistically with other seed exchange organizations
- help connect aging curators of seed collections with enthusiastic and able younger curators

Contact Information

Membership checks can be mailed to:
Randel Agrella, Treasurer
Grassroots Seed Network
241 Old East Road
Fort Fairfield, ME, 04742


Email: grassrootsseednetwork at gmail.com
You can also contact our website coordinator at sachairena at gmail.com

Donations

Founding a new organization has many challenges.  We want to customize this platform as described at the bottom of this page, transfer data from our old website (grassrootsseednetwork.org), become a 501(c)3 nonprofit, build our membership base, and make a print edition available.

We’re asking for your donations to help in this work. But at least as important is emphasizing that this is YOUR organization. We need your financial help to get it off the ground, but it is your participation with your energy, dedication, creativity, and talent that will ultimately guarantee the success of the Network. Please help in any way you can. At present, financial donations will be used to cover current operating costs.

Thank you so much! Please make monetary donations by "buying" an item found under "Donations to GSN" in our listings, or by sending a check made out to the Grassroots Seed Network, to Maré Lemay at the address above.

Many thanks for your interest and your support!

Board Members

We have a board of nine members.  We expect to hold an election in 2016, but feel that first it is necessary to improve this website, then recruit candidates for the board.  If you're interested in serving on the board, please contact any of the board members.

Customization Wish List

The following are the features we are looking for that are not already offered as part of Sharetribe.  We would appreciate feedback from listers and potential listers about which of these changes are most important and about any ways we might be able to create any of these effects within the current framework.

SOME CHANGES THAT ARE LIKELY TO BE RATHER SIMPLE:

- We'd like to be able to add text (possibly also small images) to the homepage, to show up on both the pre-login and post-login pages, above or in place of listings.

- We'd like it to be possible for administrators to add text between the listing fields on the listing form, so that for example, we could list the suggested prices below the "Price" field, and suggestions of what details to include below the "Detailed description" field.

- We'd like the "request" page to show the lister's location as well as text explaining how to send a request through the mail.  Ideally, this would not show up for "online payment only" listings.

- It would be nice, if it wouldn't mess up other things about the site, if we could edit the Field Titles of all the Listing fields.  In particular, it would be nice if we could change "Listing Title" to "Variety Name"

- When sending an administrative e-mail to users, we'd like to be able to send it either to all users or just to listers.

- The "Post a New Listing" button should instead say "add seeds" or somesuch.

- Either as a mouseover on the "add seeds" button, or on the page it directs to, there should be both the option of requesting help listing seeds, and the option of going to the spreadsheet-type form described below, once that form exists.

- We would like to let listers add expiration dates to their listings, without requiring those expiration dates to be within 6 months of the posting date.  A default expiration date of one year, with an option for easy renewal, would be ideal.

SOME CHANGES THAT MIGHT WELL BE RATHER COMPLICATED:

 We hope it will be possible to provide a spreadsheet-style form for posting multiple listings at once.  We also hope it is possible for this to include photos. (Some of our prospective members are likely to want to list hundreds of varieties, but don't have the time and don't expect to make more than a smidgen of money from their account with us.)

- We would like a shopping cart function.  That is, we'd like to make it possible to request multiple items from a single vendor at one time, i.e. going through the checkout process only once.  The ability to order multiple items from different vendors at once would also be useful.

- We'd like the beginnings of variety descriptions (and the entirety of short descriptions) to show up with each listing in the "list" format.  And ideally also in the "grid" format for listings without photos.  We'd like the state the lister is located in to show up, along with lister's name, in the list and grid formats.

- We would probably like to charge dues rather than commissions. We may do this at first by contacting any members who sign up, and requesting $15 dues from them.  Under our current structure, GSN memberships come with dues, but we do not charge commissions.  Also, we want facilitate requests via snail mail, which would necessarily not be subject to commissions.

- We'd like to make it possible for administrators to create accounts without e-mail addresses, and for administrators to easily find all the accounts that don't have e-mail addresses, so as to contact those members in a different way.  This would help us with two issues: transferring data from our current site, and making things easier for members who have very limited internet access.

- We'd like to make it possible to for the general public to see some, but not all, of the information posted by members.  We would like the public to be able to see, at the least, variety names (listing titles), but we would not like the general public to be able to see members' addresses.  In order to see members addresses (and perhaps some other information) a person should need to create a membership account.

- We would like each listing's categories (both/ all levels) to be shown on the its single-listing page.

- We'd like administrators to be able to automatically generate a file of all listings (each with the name of the lister) and all lister profiles, for the benefit of members who have little or no internet access.  This file could be a pdf or a word document or another similarly printer-friendly format.