Seed Savers Exchange Member Profile - Russ Crow (IL CR R)

Blue Jay bean Each year, hundreds of gardeners from all corners of the world share heirloom vegetable and fruit varieties they’ve collected from their own backyards.

Within Seed Savers Exchange they’re known as Listed Members, the core of our seed exchange and the source of more than 10,000 varieties that are listed in our annual Yearbook. To other SSE members, they’re often known individually by their listed member code (IL CR R).

Each month, we’ll be profiling one of our listed members in order to give our audience a closer look at some of the individuals responsible for preserving America’s endangered garden heritage.

I had the opportunity to interview Russ Crow in the spring of 2012. Russ was a part of Seed Savers Exchange back when the organization was just getting started in the mid-1970’s. Though he took a break from gardening in the 90s, Russ has since returned to one of his horticultural passions—beans—and currently serves as an important informational resource to our seed historian.

The following audio clips describe Russ’s discovery and subsequent stabilization of a new bean variety discovered in his garden in 1977, as well as his initial forays into seed saving and the reason he continues saving seeds himself.

Blue Jay bean (Russ Crow audio) [audio:|titles=Russ Crow - Blue Jay Bean]

How I Started Saving Seeds (Russ Crow audio) [audio:|titles=Russ Crow - How I Started Saving Seeds]

To learn how to access the largest heirloom seed catalog in the world and browse over 12,000 listings from Russ and hundreds of other members, visit