Year of Giving: Where Our Donations Went in 2017
“We want to know how we can help.” It’s the phrase Tom Stearns, High Mowing’s owner and founder, starts with when he’s talking to an organization he admires. And there are plenty to admire these days—farm to school initiatives, school garden initiatives, food desert elimination work, community garden programs, church gardens, food bank gardens, disaster relief groups . . . the list goes on. With so many people doing such great work to build a healthier, more resilient and sustainable food system, it makes us want to help out. The most valuable resource we have to give is also one of the most essential and sometimes the most cost-prohibitive resources for these organizations: seeds.
Every year, High Mowing donates thousands of seed packets to these efforts and more. Our seed donations help these organizations have a positive impact on a diversity of people and food systems. Here are a few ways our donated seeds had powerful and far-reaching impacts this year:
National Farm to School Network Chicago, IL
The National Farm to School Network serves as an information, advocacy and networking hub for communities working to bring local food sourcing, school gardens and food and agriculture education into schools and early care and education settings. During the National Farm to School Month projects spearheaded by NFSN in October, High Mowing provided seed kits which are distributed to 10 randomly selected sweepstakes winners for their school gardens.
Rita Marley Foundation (St. Tekla Haimanot Early Childhood Center) Bull Bay, Jamaica
Part of the Rita Marley Foundation’s mission is to develop the capacity and skills of members of socially and economically disadvantaged communities, with special attention to education, training or retraining of community members. This year, the foundation launched a program in kindergarten classes across the island to educate youth about organic growing practices. They write, “Thank you to High Mowing for your generosity which is helping organics to gain a foothold in the country of Jamaica.”
Vermont Community Garden Network Burlington, VT
The Vermont Community Garden Network leads Vermont’s community garden movement by educating, supporting and connecting garden leaders. Their mission is to support and grow the state’s vibrant network of community and school gardens. Each year, VCGN distributes thousands of seed packets donated by High Mowing Organic Seeds and provides technical assistances and hands-on garden education to groups around Vermont.
Intervale Center Burlington, VT
Founded in 1988, the Intervale Center manages a 360-acre campus of farmland, trails and open space along the Winooski River in Burlington, VT. Their mission is to strengthen community food systems, working across Vermont to enhance farm viability and land sustainability and more broadly serving as a model for food and farming organizations throughout the world. In August of 2017, High Mowing seed packets served as table prizes at the Intervale Center’s annual Midsummer’s Feast.
Whole Kids Foundation Austin, TX
Whole Kids Foundation is dedicated to helping kids eat better—and enjoy it! WKF is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) founded by Whole Foods Market and guided by the same values, principles, expertise and standards for quality ingredients, food production methods and nutrition. WKF supports schools and inspires families to improve children’s nutrition and wellness. In 2017, High Mowing provided seed packets for WKF’s launch of their new educational app, Starting with Soil.
Cultivating New Frontiers in Agriculture (CNFA) Washington, DC
As part of a “Farmer to Farmer” exchange sponsored by the CNFA, in 2017 a Brattleboro, VT based farmer took High Mowing Organic Seeds to the Culima Cuacanaca Farm Association in Chimoio, Mozambique in an effort to help them improve the quality of their seed stock. These local farmers also received an educational session on seed saving so they can plant these varieties for years to come.
Katie’s Krops Summerville, SC
Katie’s Krops is a national community gardening organization supporting 100+ young growers in 33 different states. Katie’s Krops empowers growers ages 9-16 to help end hunger in their local communities by providing the necessary tools to start and maintain vegetable gardens. In 2017, High Mowing Organic Seeds in partnership with Bejo Seeds provided thousands of seed packets to these young growers.
Cleveland Seed Bank Cleveland, OH
The mission of the Cleveland Seed Bank is to create an alliance of self-reliant seed savers who will collect, grow, and share open-pollinated seeds; present inspirational educational programs on the genetic diversity of plant varieties and preservation of open-pollinated seeds; act as an accessible and independent source of locally adapted seeds that directly services Cleveland’s organic growers; and grow a successful seed saving program that can be adapted by communities around the world. Directly inspired by working with Dr. Vandana Shiva of India, the founders of the Cleveland Seed Bank seek to restore seed ownership to communities and people. High Mowing is proud to provide open-pollinated and unpatented varieties of seed to help this project empower its community to steward its own seed for years to come.
Community Outreach & Patient Empowerment (COPE) Gallup, NM
COPE seeks to overturn long-standing, historical health inequalities in American Indiana and Alaska Native communities by improving the wellbeing of these communities. COPE strives to promote healthy, prosperous, and empowered Native communities through three collaborative approaches: robust, community-based outreach; local capacity building and system-level partnerships; and increasing access to healthy foods. Seeds donated to this program by High Mowing are being used to grow organic, nutritious produce to increase access to healthy food for these communities.
Denver Urban Gardens Denver, CO
The mission of Denver Urban Gardens is, together with residents, to cultivate gardeners, grow food and nourish community. DUG offers neighborhoods the essential resources for community gardens, including seeds from High Mowing Organic Seeds, and ongoing technical expertise. They currently operate over 165 community gardens throughout Metro Denver, including more than 40 school-based community gardens.
Hudson Valley Seed Beacon, NY
Hudson Valley Seed educates children in school gardens, empowering students through curriculum-integrated lessons focused on healthy eating, food literacy, outdoor learning, and academic success. In 2017, children involved with Hudson Valley Seed planted their school gardens with seed donated by High Mowing Organic Seeds.
FoodCorps Portland, OR
FoodCorps connects kids to healthy food in school, so they can lead healthier lives and reach their full potential. The AmeriCorps leaders at the helm of this project deliver the program in high-need schools, focusing on hands-on lessons, healthy school meals, and a schoolwide culture of health. Part of their lessons in 2017 involved planted donated seed from High Mowing Organic Seeds.
Puerto Rico Resilience Fund Puerto Rico
Donations to the PR Resilience Fund go to help families and communities recover from the recent earthquakes and hurricanes that have devastated the lives of many in the region. The goal of the PR Resilience Fund is to help those who were affected rebuild and restore their homes, communities, environment, and lives. High Mowing Organic Seeds has donated thousands of seed packets to the Fund to help organic farmers and gardeners restore and replant following the devastation of their lands.
Coppell Community Garden Coppell, TX
The Coppell Community Garden, a 501 (c) 3 nonprofit organization, provides community gardens, a farmers market, and environmental education to the community of Coppell, Texas. Dedicated volunteers cultivate a healthy community by growing and donating organic produce to those in need, providing a market for locally grown food, and teaching sustainable practices. A portion of the seed they use to grow their donated produce is from High Mowing Organic Seeds.
Virginia Beach Master Gardeners Virginia Beach, VA
Virginia Beach Master Gardener volunteers provide unbiased, research based information and programs to home gardeners as part of Virginia Cooperative Extension (“VCE”) community outreach. They do this through community education, help desk, plant doctor clinics, speakers bureau, public ‘garden talks’, youth programs, workshops and demonstrations. Seeds donated by High Mowing were provided at some of these workshops organized by Master Gardeners in 2017.
The Detroit Public Schools Garden to Cafeteria Program provides seeds, transplants and technical support to 76 school gardens throughout the Detroit public school district. Each garden has six raised beds in which teachers and staff grow vegetables of their own selection, and every garden includes the program’s custom “Stop Light Salad”: cherry tomatoes, green zucchini and yellow squash. Many of the seeds used to grow these gardens came from donations by High Mowing Organic Seeds.
Environmental Charter Middle School - Gardenea Los Angeles, CA
The mission of Environmental Charter Middle Schools is to create and deliver vibrant, innovative and interdisciplinary learning opportunities using the environment to engage students and connect them to the wider world. Part of their educational programming in 2017 involved learning to grow vegetable plants from seed using donated seed from High Mowing Organic Seeds.