The Scatter Seed Project in Maine

The Scatterseed Project is a program for preserving the diversity of our crop heritage. Worldwide, the genetic variability of nearly all plant species is dwindling at an alarming rate. Varieties which have been grown by farmers and gardeners for centuries are fast becoming extinct, and plant breeders and other crop workers believe this bodes ill for the future of agriculture everywhere. The Scatterseed Project was founded to help prevent such loss.

It is basically a one-man effort, supported completely by sample fees and contributions from others. It is by no means profit-making, but designed solely to serve the interests of those who till the soil. Specifically, the Project functions in the following ways:

I. It collects crop plant materials by correspondence, advertising, word-of-mouth, and periodic exploring trips throughout Maine and nearby states and provinces. Some material is sent in by friends, missionaries, tourists, etc., traveling abroad. We cooperate with the various regional facilities of the United States Plant Germplasm System , obtaining foreign varieties from them to further distribute to others, while in turn supplying them with material resulting from our searches.

II. Varieties are preserved and propagated at Khadighar, in Industry, Maine. When seedstocks are sufficiently increased, they are distributed to interested parties. Most of our requests come through the Seed Savers' Exchange ; others from individuals who hear of us, or from Peace Corps workers, plant breeders, etc.

Species which cross-polinate are kept pure by isolation or hand-pollination. Clonal collections are presently being monitored for indication of viral infestation.

Collections include most vegetables, legumes, small grains, and tree fruits, which are hardy or mature seed in our Maine season. At present there are between 2-3000 varieties in the Scatterseed collection.

SCATTERSEED IS NOT A SEED COMPANY, although in some ways it functions as one. Seeds are NOT available in quantity, but rather as small samples which the recipient is expected to further increase for personal use. We do not publish a catalog. All varieties available for distribution are listed in the annual Yearbook of the Seed Savers' Exchange (3076 North Winn Road, Decorah, IA 52101 ), under our code, ME/BO-W, along with description notes, how-to-obtain-seed, etc.

Recipients are not required to return any of the seed increase or report on results. However, many do just that, and their assistance is greatly appreciated, as it helps us to be of more service to others.

Contributions of any kind are in great need, and welcome. Thanks for your interest.

Will Bonsall
207 778 3387

Director, Scatterseed Project
Box 1167
Farmington, ME 04938