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Native Seed is the Lowest Cost Conservation Investment You Can Make

“Your seed is expensive!” We get this observation periodically from customers and potential customers. And on a superficial level these comments – as stinging as they initially can be – are understandable. After all single packet of our springbank clover or camas contains a mere small handful of a few hundred seeds. For the same price customers can easily go online and buy a half-pound of bachelor button seed (or a hundred other non-native species).

Indeed a thriving “wildflower seed” industry exists to supply garden centers, online stores, and big box retailers with low cost, non-native seed mixes. One can argue the merit of these mixes, but we would rather talk about what our seed represents to us:

• We are committed to true native eco-types of the Maritime Pacific Northwest – these are the plants that co-evolved over tens of thousands of years with the pollinators, songbirds, soils, and seasons of our region.

• We use zero-chemicals on our home farm – no herbicides, insecticides, or synthetic fertilizers. The result is a bit messy, with native meadow plants creeping and spreading outside of neat boundaries, but our farm also teams with life, and its grassy meadows capture runoff before it can drain into the adjacent lagoon that serves as a critical nursery for juvenile salmon and shorebirds.

• We believe in living wages for our family and community. The big box retail model and the cheap seed mixes in those stores represents a continuous drive to the bottom -- lower quality products and lower quality of lives for working families. We price our seed according to what it costs us to produce or procure with a modest profit margin (most of which is currently invested back in the business).

• As our world and region face unprecedented challenges from climate change, development, and habitat loss, we believe we need a landscape revolution for native plants more than ever. These ancient and beautiful species – so adapted to the Pacific Northwest – sequester carbon, build and protect soils, shade and cool our planet, feed countless animals and can even provide renewable food sources for people.

For around 10 cents a square foot you can restore a biologically diverse, oxygen-producing, climate change fighting native meadow.

Is that expensive?

We’ll let you decide.

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