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.

It's always the best ones you slice in half! Excited to be digging the @newsproutorganicfarms sponsored purple sweet potato trial 💜

We have 9 different purples that we're looking at and will be measuring brix levels as well as good old taste testing!

New Sprout also have two of their own growers growing some of these purples, so hopefully we'll get some good feedback to share!

More to come.


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I've gone a bit crazy making okra petiole straws, they're the perfect byproduct from harvesting and using the leaves, which are the byproduct from growing okra for the pods! Use the whole plant 💚

#thewholeokra #okra #tuspokra #seedtostem

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Kind of a new twist on, corn on the cob...!

I also wonder if this counts as a germination test?


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Celosia argentea aka Laos Spinach. Last year I left these beautiful flowers on the plants for too long and the seeds were all gone by the time I pulled them in for seed saving. This year I have learned my lesson and I'm snipping off the partially dried flowers as they develop, there's still lots of beauty in the field but I'm also managing to save a lot of seeds! I'm pretty hopeful that these will make it onto my patreon thank you list this winter.

#celosia #laosspinach #communitysupported #patreon

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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