Common Wealth Seed Growers
Located in Louisa, VA, United States (Zone 7a)
6 Total Reviews
Established in 2014
15.00 acres in production
37 varieties for sale
Grows and Sells: Pumpkins, Okra, Melons, Squash - Summer, Corn, Cucumbers, Tomatoes, Peppers, Sunflower, Rutabaga, Squash - Winter, Collards, Gourds, Watermelons, Eggplant
A Seed Growers Cooperative
About the Farm
Common Wealth Seed Growers is a cooperative project to produce and offer regionally-adapted, open-pollinated seeds for a limited number of outstanding varieties. We grow all the seeds we sell, and we only sell what grows well here. Many of our varieties are certified organic, and all are grown using organic or biological farming practices.
Read more about us at commonwealthseeds.com. Please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or leave a message at 540-223-5861 with any questions you may have. We do not have regular phone hours, but will get back to you in one to two business days.
Meet Our Growers:
Edmund Frost managed the seed growing business at Twin Oaks Community (Louisa, VA) from 2008-2015. After a year of farming west of the Blue Ridge at Sycamore Farm (2016), Edmund is back in Louisa. He is part of a new intentional community project called Mimosa Community, and is again growing seeds in collaboration with Twin Oaks. Edmund does breeding and variety trial research work with a variety of vegetable crops, especially focused on Cucurbits. He has worked as an anti-GMO activist and is committed to building functional alternatives to corporate control of our food, farms and seeds.
Debbie Piesen has managed seed growing at Living Energy Farm since 2010, growing seeds and produce on three acres of certified organic land just outside of Louisa, Virginia. LEF is a project to build a self-sufficient farm, community and education center that uses no fossil fuels or grid electricity. She is passionate about identifying and stewarding varieties that really work well for homesteaders and gardeners who grow most of their own food, as well as for market growers.
Sapphyre has been growing vegetables and seed crops since 2012, and continues to pursue her passion of growing and working with medicinal herbs. She believes that it is essential for personal autonomy and freedom that everyday people control their own food, seed and medicine systems, rather than corporations like Monsanto and big pharma. Her favorite crops are corn, gourds and squash.
Lyndsey Walker has grown vegetable seed crops and produce on her farm in Buckingham County, Virginia for two seasons. Before that she worked for several years on the seed growing crew at Twin Oaks.
Betsy Trice grows seed crops and produce at Peacemeal Farm, which she runs with her husband Chris Trice in Hadensville, VA. They also raise meat goats and laying hens. In addition to farming, Betsy is an instructor at Reynolds Community College where she teaches Sustainable Agriculture.
Our Commitment to Quality Seed
We maintain appropriate isolation distances between varieties, based on recommendations from several sources, especially Jeff McCormack's 2004 publication: "Isolation Distances; Principles and practices of isolation distances for seed crops: an organic seed production manual for seed growers in the Mid-Atlantic and Southern U.S." We also base isolation distances on our experience.
We are serious, and also careful, about stock seed selection. We don't want to select for productivity at the expense of flavor, for instance. It is important to think through the full ramifications of the selections we make. That said, we do select for flavor, disease resistance, flavor, appearance and productivity. We are putting an increasing amount of energy into evaluations of individual plants in our seed growouts. An example would be taste and brix tests of individual winter squash plants in many of our growouts.
All our seed lots are tested according to Association of Official Seed Analysts procedures, and found to exceed federal germination standards. Contact us if you need germination results on a particular seed lot: email@example.com
Our Growing Practices
All our seeds are grown using organic or biological practices – most are certified organic. Labels and variety listings indicate which varieties are certified organic. All our seeds are untreated and non-GMO.
Disease and insect resistant varieties are especially important for organic farmers and gardeners because our options for disease and insect control are limited. Our seeds are chosen and selected for good performance in low-input organic conditions.
Our Seed Farming Experience
We all have several years of experience growing organic vegetable seed crops in Virginia; most of us have been producing seeds here for at least five years. See grower profiles for more about each grower's history and experience growing seed crops.
We are all part of a movement to build better seed systems in our region that will empower and serve farmers here. Common Wealth Seed Growers strives to embrace all the aspects of a quality regional seed system, including seed production, trialing, selection, breeding, education, outreach, and collaboration with others doing similar work.
We have been selecting and adapting many of our varieties for several years, for disease resistance, productivity, appearance and flavor. We have seen noticeable improvement in several cases when we compared our selected seedstocks to those selected elsewhere or not selected.
We are committed to ongoing variety trials (on our farms in Virginia) to identify open-pollinated varieties and seedstocks that are well suited for our region. We trial seedstocks from many sources, including university breeding programs, amateur breeders, heirloom seed savers, and the USDA germplasm bank. We include market standard hybrids in our trials for comparison. Read more here: http://commonwealthseeds.com/research/