The Utopian Seed Project

Celebrating diversity in food and farming through crop and variety trials in the Southeast.

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The Utopian Seed Project is a hands in the earth non-profit committed to trialing crops and varieties in the Southeast to support diversity in food and farming. Our utopian vision is to create an engaged network of growers, gardeners, farmers, foodies, cooks and chefs to help educate and celebrate this diversity. We are based in Asheville, NC and are working towards an overarching vision to create food sovereignty in the face of climate change through diverse and regenerative agriculture. 

Crop Trial Focus Areas

Exploring Varietal Diveristy in Southern Crops

We are conducting crop variety trials for traditional southern crops to explore the diversity on offer. It’s exciting to realize that the genetic diversity within many crops can give us culinary and climate resilient opportunities.

Tropical Perennials Grown As Temperate Annuals

We are experimenting with growing crops that are native to the tropics, but with some additional care can thrive and provide diverse food in our region. This is an exciting area of crop research with some incredible culinary and potential.

Promoting Underutilized Edibles as Food Crops

We are growing and assessing some of the many wild, native and underutlized food crops yet to be explored or fully appreciated. With some simple selection or breeding work, many of these crops could offer great culinary promise.

The Peoples Seed Logo

 In 2020, The People’s Seed joined forces with The Utopian Seed Project. The People’s Seed is the legacy organization of a legendary seed and farming advocate, Tony Kleese. Tony recognized the need to develop a new system for a fair and open seed industry to ensure a sustainable, climate adapted food system for the future. Learn more about our ongoing work HERE.

Sporting my vintage @sowtrueseed tshirt while checking in on this Blue Ridge White Capped dent corn I've been working on with Sow True Seed. Original seed came from the USDA and displayed some large, heavily rowed cobs. I've been selecting for the biggest cobs and healthiest plants (we had pretty severe lodging in the beginning). This is only year three, so early days, but it's fun to work with such a big plant 😊

I've also got a tasty white WNC Market Greasy Bean climbing these stalks 💚

Note: it's hot and I cycled here and it's hot 🥵

#corn #seeds #seedsaving #dentcorn #heirloom #heirloomcorn #tuspcorn #seedselection #plantbreeding #farming #beans #beanseed #greasybean
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@lovesomegreen and I are pretty sure this is the butt and hindlegs of Ptilothrix bombiformis aka Rose-mallow Bee aka the Okra Bee.

A solitary east coast native ground dwelling bee that helps out with okra pollination (and many other mallows). We'll try to get a better shot 📸

Hanging out in our okra row at Two Sided Farm!

#okra #okraflower #okrabee
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We're in the thick of our growing season at the moment and don't have a lot of time for fundraising. That's one of the things that makes our Patreon supporters so valuable - a broad community base of monthly micro-donations that truly help us in the work we're doing 💚

If you're interested, check out the link in our bio. We have levels starting at $3 a month.

#communitysupported #philanthropy #patronage #patreon #fundraising #nonprofit #501c3
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Winnowing a heavy seed like these southern peas is so satisfying and really easy. The heavy seeds fall into the container while all the lighter chaff (and any dud seeds) get blown clear. One pass and we had super clean seeds!!

We're creating a seed saving educational series with a Southern SARE grant which will be full of info for on farm seed saving (working with Communal Studios for 📽️ skills).

#seedsaving #southernpeas #winnowing #seeds
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The Experimental Farm Notebook

We’ll be publishing  updates throughout the growing season so you can stay up to date with what we’re up to and how the experiments are going. This will be an informal narrative of our highs and lows, successes and failures, with photos and fun facts!

Follow Along With Our Notes From The Field

Thanks to our Sustaining Sponsors

Two Seeds in a Pod - Sustaining Sponsor
Southern Exposure Seed Exchange Sustaining Sponsor