Seeds of Diversity's member-to-member seed exchange is the easiest way for you to get involved in seed conservation! You can help protect our precious garden biodiversity and heritage by growing and exchanging rare seeds directly with other members.
Gardeners just like you are saving and sharing seeds from over 2,300 varieties of heritage vegetables, fruits, grains, herbs, and ornamental plants. Over half of these varieties are not available from any seed company in North America!
Any member can get seeds through the Seed Exchange even if they don't offer seeds themselves. But the reason we do this is to diversify the choices that gardeners have, so we hope you'll learn to save the seeds of your favourite varieties and offer them to other gardeners through the Seed Exchange too.
Are you a member yet? Join now - it's free!
How to Request Seeds
The Seed Exchange is open year round, but most of our members only offer seeds from January to May.
Look through the Seed Exchange for seeds that you would like to try. It's like browsing a giant seed catalogue.
- [example] This one is offered by a gardener in Nova Scotia
[image send to person] You request seeds directly from the person offering them, not through Seeds of Diversity, so it's a genuine experience of sharing seeds with other gardeners. You also pay a small fee directly to the person offering the seeds, to cover their costs and postage. Membership is free, and there are no hidden fees to Seeds of Diversity.
[image dollar sign] Every member sets their own terms for payment, but we suggest $3.50 for a typical packet. Most members accept requests by email and payment by e-transfer, but some prefer requests by mail and physical payment in cash or stamps. Everyone is different, and we try to make everyone's preferences as clear as possible.
[image seeds in the mail] It might take a few weeks for the seeds to arrive. Remember, we're a group of seed-saving gardeners, not a commercial seed company. Some members just fill requests on the weekends. But don't worry, they do this because they want you to enjoy their favourite seeds, so please be patient and kind.
All members can use the online Seed Exchange for free, but we also have printed copies if you prefer something that you can hold - just an extra $10 with your membership.
How to Offer Seeds
Even if you aren't a seed saver, you can request seeds from our Member Seed Exchange. But some day we hope you'll offer seeds too. We need more seed savers to protect our food biodiversity, and this is the best way that you can help do that.
When you have seeds that you'd like to offer, you can list them in the Seed Exchange. Give as much information as you can, a good description, and keep your list up to date every season. You can add and remove seeds in your list any time, but the best time to update it is in the Fall because gardeners will be looking for seeds from January to May.
You can place a time limit on when your seeds are available, so other members won't request them in your off-season, and you can set your own prices and payment terms.
How to REALLY Use the Seed Exchange to Make a Difference
If you're a new seed saver, and you want to really put your skills to a good use, we have the perfect starter program for you.
Save One Rare Variety is an easy way to help save food biodiversity, and you can do it any time.
- Find a variety that's interesting to you, and that you can only find from one or two sources. That means it needs protecting. Our Save One Rare Variety page has ideas on how to find a really rare variety.
- Grow it, enjoy it, and save the seeds.
- Share the seeds with other gardeners. You can do that through the Member Seed Exchange, your local Seedy Saturday/Sunday seed swap, a seed library, a community garden, or any place where other seed savers are likely to grow it too.
- When they also save and share the seeds, your mission is accomplished. You can go ahead and rescue another rare variety!
If everyone saved just one rare variety, there wouldn't be any rare varieties anymore!