What Makes Us Different
The Family Farmers Seed Cooperative (FFSC) is a farmer owned and operated cooperative with members in seven western states. Our mission is to produce high quality certified organic, open pollinated and public domain seed for organic growers and other bulk purchasers.
We wish to convey to our fellow farmers and loyal customers that we are not a traditional seed company and do not intend to hurry into a full line of products. Rather, we will introduce new varieties as we determine their readiness for diverse, specialty, and commercial organic systems.
Our member farms are some of the best and most experienced organic seed growers in North America. The offerings available through this website represent years of farmer devotion to the selection and breeding process. We uphold high quality standards to ensure the viability and rigor of our seeds and stand proudly behind our product.
We are staking our business on solid, work-horse organic varieties that have been maintained and developed in the prime seed production regions of the western United States (Colorado, New Mexico, Nebraska, North Dakota, Washington, Oregon, California).
Simply stated: We offer Quality Seed from Quality Farmers.
Our seed is defined by a few key traits: Organic, Open Pollinated and Public Domain.
These add value for customers, set us apart in the marketplace and enable us to meet our goals to provide organic farmers with quality, open pollinated seed, protect and expand our public organic seed supply, support environmental stewardship and build a resilient organic seed trade. Here's how:
Our farms are Certified Organic, adhering to USDA regulations for the production of organic seed. Continued research demonstrates what we organic farmers have known for eons—organic systems confer multiple benefits. Our mission is to grow a sustainable, organic agriculture, starting with the seed, where it all begins. We nurture our crops by building rich, healthy soil and encouraging all beneficial organisms such as bacteria, insects, and birds to keep pests in check. We don't use genetic modification, irradiation, sewage sludge or synthetic agrochemicals. Organic farming protects and enhances crop quality, biodiversity, air, water, soil and public health, cultivating a better today and tomorrow.
Our seed is open pollinated (OP), which means that saved seed will breed true and that farmers have direct access and control of their seed supply. In contrast, F-1 hybrids and GMO varieties are impossible for farmers to reproduce, leaving them dependent on seed companies for new seed. OP varieties are reproduced through natural pollination via wind or insects, and are maintained provided that there is no cross pollination from other varieties of the same species. If particular plant traits are desired, humans may use natural mechanisms such as hand-pollination or removing undesirable plants from the population before pollination begins. This traditional, open-pollinated breeding approach allows for continuous adaptation of a variety across diverse and changing climatic conditions, and represents dynamic evolution in action. Open pollinated varieties that are well selected can out-perform F-1 hybrids in terms of efficient use of natural resources, hardiness, disease and pest resistance, flavor characteristics and other important traits, making them appealing for growers and consumers alike.
We're out to save organic seed and we want you to do it, too. For these reasons, all of our seed is held in the public domain (PD). That means there are no restrictions for saving, multiplying, sharing or selling seeds you produce from our seeds. Seed industry consolidation has put a handful of large companies in control of much of the world's seed supply. These companies focus exclusively on developing varieties that are F-1 hybrids, elite OP varieties with utility patents, or GMOs. This prohibits seed saving, the time honored practice that allows growers to adapt seed to their growing conditions and select the best performers for reproduction. Denying seed sovereignty and centralizing seed supplies that are the basis for our food supply both threaten food security. To answer this problem, we're putting all of our seed in the public domain for customers to reproduce and improve, creating a worldwide, bio-regionally adapted, publicly held and genetically resilient organic seed bank.
One way that we're sharing our seed in the public domain is through our membership with the Open Source Seed Initiative (OSSI). OSSI strives to keep unrestricted seed in the hands of growers now and in the future by using the Open Source model to maintain access to plant genetic resources and create a gene pool of vegetable varieties that will remain public forever. OSSI was formed to establish a pool of vegetable germplasm that is locked into the public domain. OSSI seeds are not free seed but they are "freed" seed, germplasm liberated from the constraints of patents and intellectual property restrictions. The OSSI Mission is dedicated to maintaining fair and open access to plant genetic resources worldwide. Plant breeders, farmers or gardeners who create something new can offer new varieties as Open Source through OSSI. For information about OSSI, please visit, www.osseeds.org