Love to Eat. Love to Grow. Grow to Eat.
From this statement and the desire to inspire and enable others to grow their own diverse array of crops that are delicious and nutritious or functional, Great Lakes Staple Seeds took life. We've been raising crops from our own saved seeds for many, many years and even offered a CSA on a small scale. Our CSA experience of providing families with local, responsibly grown produce revealed to us our true passion - seeds. Consuming local produce is a key component toward a goal of creating and sustaining food security at a family or community level; however, that goal is undermined when seed for the produce originates outside the area. Local food security begins with locally grown, regionally adapted seeds.
Each and every seed we offer is Michigan grown. Every variety with one special exception is grown by us on our southeast Michigan homestead using ecologically responsible and regenerative cultivation methods. The singular exception is Kurzer's Calico Traveler Lima Bean, a co-grown variety.
Since we are a homestead-based seed company and eat what we grow, we are absolutely committed to ecologically responsible growing methods but as we are a small family farm, financially gaining and maintaining annual certified organic status is too costly at this time. Recognising the importance of conscientious stewardship of our land, soil fertility is at the heart of our cultivation methods. Organic standards guide our practices to include integrated pest management, crop rotation, reduced tillage, cover cropping, and compost application as standard operations in our growing. Additionally, we target our efforts, budget, and time on active participation in conferences, workshops and webinars to ensure our seeds are top-quality and sustainably grown regardless of an off-farm official certification. The seeds we offer for sale come directly from the stock we've grown ourselves to meet our family needs.
Our focus is on staple crops - ones that are, as Indiana Seedsman, mentor and friend John Sherck of Sherck Seeds writes, “any crop you would really want in your larder in the event of a national economic crisis like the Great Depression.” (Please see John's insightful article that defines calorie crops, carbon crops and staple crops.) Great Lakes Staple Seeds isn’t in business because we believe an apocalyptic event is imminent, rather the notions of self-determination and food security inherent in dependable larder crops, the self-sustainability and sufficiency offered through raising high calorie and/or nutrient rich crops significantly motivates our garden endeavors. We also appreciate and thoroughly enjoy the incredibly expansive choice in varieties offered through growing from seed. Additionally, we realise the importance of functional crops such as flax for fiber or its nutritious seeds and sesame as a seasoning or an oilseed and include those in our offerings.
Another important aspect of Great Lakes Staple Seeds’ mission is maintaining and encouraging varietal diversity, that we do our part to preserve open-pollinated varieties at a time where the large and corporate seed companies are dropping them in favor of hybrids and patented varieties. Our seeds are 100% savable, open-pollinated (sometimes hand-pollinated), non-hybrid, untreated and natural. Many of our offerings come with their own fascinating stories that captivate us and encourage their place in our gardens. We have signed the Safe Seed Pledge and will never knowingly sell GMO seeds. Offering six OSSI-Pledged varieties, we are a proud seed partner for the Open Source Seed Initiative, with a goal of some day offering our own pledged varieties.
Related to maintaining varietal diversity, we encourage and support seed-saving. Why? Honestly, simply, the best seeds for your garden come from your garden. Saving the seeds from your garden fosters self-reliance and sustainability as each season seeds adapt to the micro-climate that is your garden. That and humans have been saving and sharing seeds and their stories for millennia - it is a vital part of our collected culture. Let us add new varieties to your garden, but by all means, please save and share your seeds.
We realise you have many choices when it comes to seed companies. Thank you for allowing us to meet your staple crop seed needs. We appreciate your business, welcome your comments and questions, and look forward to sharing in your garden adventures!
Eleanor, Scott & Craig
P.S. We know our focus on staple crops means we might not offer a particular variety or crop that interests you. Please see our Community page for a list of recommended alternative suppliers.