Native Seed Search. Preserving endangered Southwest native seeds


Native Seed Search in Tucson has preserved and saved multitudes of heirloom seeds including beans, squash, pepper, corn, eggplant, herbs, and a multitude of other vegetables. They were once given a medicine man’s pouch which contained sunflower seeds they’d never seen before. This previously unknown variety of sunflowers proved resistant to sunflower rust and was soon cross-bred with commercial species.

Native Seeds/SEARCH is a nonprofit seed conservation organization based in Tucson, Arizona. Our story began in 1983 following a profound realization. While working on a Meals for Millions project to assist the Tohono O’odham Nation with establishing gardens, NS/S co-founders Gary Nabhan and Mahina Drees presented tribal elders with broccoli and radish seeds. “What we are really looking for,” the elders replied, “are the seeds for the foods our grandparents used to grow.” This revelatory remark inspired the formation of Native Seeds/SEARCH as a collector and preserver of these endangered traditional seeds.

They are worth supporting.


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