Updates from Seed Savers Exchange

SSE Donates Seeds to Czech and Slovak Heritage Garden Project

The National Czech & Slovak Museum & Library (NCSML), in Cedar Rapids, IA, has begun an educational project replicating the kitchen gardens of late-19th century Czech and Slovak immigrants in Iowa.

SSE has donated seeds to the project that have their roots in Czech and Slovak culture. A total of nine varieties were donated from both the preservation collection and the seed catalog. Notable donations include'Leutschauer Paprika' pepper, which was grown in Leutschau, Slovakia during the 1800s; ‘Slava' tomato, reportedly an "old Czech heirloom" with a name that translates as "glory"; and 'Czech Tomato,' reportedly brought to Nebraska by Czech immigrants.

Many immigrants from the Czech and Slovak regions brought seeds with them to the United States. By implementing organic gardening practices and selecting Czech and Slovak heritage seeds, the garden strives to help the community understand everyday life for immigrants settling into their new country.



UK Scholar Explores Archives

Helen Anne Curry, lecturer in the history of modern science and technology at the University of Cambridge, came to SSE in March to access our archives of Exchange Yearbooks.

Her research considers the history of global conservation, in particular efforts made to preserve the genetic diversity of agricultural crop species through the practice of seed banking.

Helen studies how the genetic diversity of plant species came to be seen as a critical, but imperiled, resource essential to human survival and how seed banks came to be seen as the solution to the threat of losing such diversity.


Potato collection to be genetically fingerprinted

As part of our tissue culture program, SSE Preservation sent test tubes containing potato germplasm for genetic fingerprinting to Michigan State University. The project is a collaboration with Michigan State University, the USDA, and The International Potato Center in Peru. The SSE collection currently holds about 750 potato varieties, 130 of which have already been tested. The genetic fingerprinting allows for identification of duplicates in the collection.

Seed Savers Exchange is a nonprofit organization located in Decorah, Iowa, with a mission to conserve and promote America's culturally diverse but endangered garden and food crop heritage for future generations by collecting, growing, and sharing heirloom seeds and plants.