At High Mowing Organic Seeds we know the environmental importance of growing organic seeds and food, but we also know we have a responsibility to positively impact the communities around us. We recognize the importance of contributing to our own community here in northern Vermont and far beyond.
Every year we donate over 100,000 seed packets through our Seed Donation Program. We strongly believe that seeds are an excellent resource which can be used to teach and empower people about food security. Through our donation program, we support organizations that provide farm and nutrition education with programs such as community gardens, school gardens, church gardens, food bank gardens, summer camps, and disaster relief groups. Thanks to these partnerships, our seeds are now in the hands of the food system leaders of tomorrow. These grassroots programs build self-sufficiency, encourage healthy eating and provide valuable education about nutrition and where our food comes from. To learn more about our Donation Program or to request an application, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
We are also happy to donate seed packets and catalogs to workshops and conferences that reach farmers and gardeners that may not be familiar with our company. Please email email@example.com to request a promotional donation for your event.
One of the benefits of our Trials Farm in Northern Vermont is the thousands of pounds of vegetables that it produces. From this abundant produce we are able to have an excellent employee CSA. We are also able to donate large quantities of produce.
Vermont Foodbank’s Gleaning Program: Once we have collected the data that we need from the crops in our Trials Field, Vermont Foodbank staff and volunteers come to harvest greens, cucumbers, carrots, cabbage, melons, tomatoes, and squash, to name a few. This produce is washed, packed and distributed to people in need of fresh produce throughout our state. We are proud to work with the Vermont Foodbank to glean over 10,000 pounds of excess produce from our fields each summer.
Pies for the People/Soup for Supper: With the squash harvested from the fields at High Mowing Organic Seeds and puree created in Pete’s Greens’ kitchen, volunteers make and deliver food to local people during the holiday season. This project, a working partnership between the Center for an Agricultural Economy and Sterling College, along with many others, is a collaborative effort to meet the needs of a community using locally grown and donated produce, funds, facilities, and services.
A sense of social responsibility is an important thread in the fabric of the working environment here at High Mowing. In addition to our seed and produce donation programs, we also recognize our role as a leader in the world of organic agriculture and we harness that power thoughtfully. Some examples of our breakthrough work in the realm of social activism include:
- Guiding the original signers of the Safe Seed Pledge and becoming one of the first nine seed companies to sign the pledge.
- Starting to seek GMO testing on our high risk crops like soybeans, beets and corn even before the Non-GMO Project verification seal was developed. In 2014, we adopted the seal and became the first seed company to offer 100% certified organic and Non-GMO Project Verified seeds.
- Working with the Center for Food Safety, Sierra Club and Organic Seed Alliance to successfully sue the USDA to require an Environmental Impact Study before allowing deregulation of GMO sugar beets in the Pacific Northwest (an area that produces most of the beet & chard seed in the U.S.) Read more about the final court decision and our role in the court case here.
- Assisting the Washington State Department of Agriculture in drafting legislative regulations around a zero tolerance policy for the fungal disease black leg on crucifer seeds.
- Supporting the work of the Open Source Seed Initiative by releasing varieties under the protected public commons, free for all to grow and breed with as they see fit.
- Working with the team at Vitalis Organic Seeds to continue organic productions of the high performing lettuce varieties, Encino and Lovelock.
- Increasing the organic footprint by acquiring licensing agreements for in-demand conventional varieties in order to move them into production for organic seed crops, including Scarlet kale and the bi-color synergistic sweet corns from Seneca Vegetable Research: Mirage F1, Enchanted F1 and Allure F1.
- Participating in the American Seed Trade Association’s organic committee to further expand the conventional industry’s understanding of the importance of organic seed, and encourage sound decision-making about included and excluded methods of organic seed breeding and production.
- Working with organic certifiers and advocacy organizations to engage in public commentary relating to the USDA organic certification standards as adopted by the National Organic Standards Board. Read our most recent public comments as of October, 2018 here.