The Utopian Seed Project

Supporting diversity in food and farming
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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 and Celebrate diversity in food and farming. OUR VISION is an engaged community of growers, gardeners, farmers, foodies, cooks and chefs (actually, everyone) WHO embrace regional biodiversity for a resilient and delicious food and farming system.


THe Experimental Farm

We growing many different things in Western North Carolina to explore what could be grown in a more diverse food and farming system. In our farm work we explore emerging crops for this region as well as variety trials for traditional crops. Diversity and experimentation is at our core!

Crop Stories

Crop Stories is our way of speaking about, educating and celebrating the crops that we are working with. Crop Stories includes a crop-specific event series, a crop-specific magazine and a supporting podcast, with a high degree of synergy between these three platforms.

Seed Commons

 Collective responsibility, sharing of knowledge and seed, protection from private enclosure, and distributed, polycentric governance are key features of Seed Commons. Equitable and open-source seed work is at the center of everything we do.

Chef Yunanda Wilson cooking taro at the utopian seed project taro pop-up


The Utopian Seed Project grows a wide range of crops and varieties with the aim of increasing agrobiodiversity into the food and farming system. We host food focused events and partner with incredible local chefs to showcase the crops we’re working with.


This project traveled across 12 states and interviewed over 50 farmers, community gardeners, seed savers, seed growers and seed advocates. The footage was weaved together to tell the story and seed saving of six southern crops: corn, okra, southern peas, collards, sweet potatoes and squash.

The @heirloomgardensproject is a collaboration of Princeton University, Spelman College, and the Ujamaa Cooperative Farming Alliance to collect oral histories of people who have worked to preserve Black and Indigenous seed and foodways through the Southeastern United States and Appalachia. Working across six sites over two years, students and faculty will work with communities to interview and archive the stories of farmers, gardeners, chefs, community organizers, local historians and others who have been actively sustaining rich farming, culinary, and medicinal traditions.

Today, 3 interns arrived in Asheville to collect stories locally and across North Carolina. The Utopian Seed Project is the site host and will be supporting their work over the next 8 weeks.

Feel free to reach out directly if you have questions, ideas, suggestions, or a story you want to share.

#oralhistory #ourgrandmothersgardens #seedstories #cropstories #gardenstories

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Tonight is the night for my first ever experience of PechaKucha 20x20 - described as a beautifully simple presentation format where you show 20 images each for 20 seconds. The images advance automatically and you talk along to the images for a total presentation time of 6 minutes and 40 seconds!

I`ll be presenting on okra! And there is a beautiful range of topics from the other 7 presentations. Tickets are just $10 via www - should be a fun evening!

#pechakuchaavl #okra

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Chef Mallory Foster (@mypalmalgal) is our fourth chef for this weekend`s event (May 18th 130 - 4pm at @plebavl). You can get details and grab a ticket via the link in our bio.

We`ve worked with Chef Foster for a couple of #TrialToTable events and are always blown away by her creative use of ingredients. Here`s what she has planned for this weekend:

Taro tartlet: taro, chocolate cremeux, benne seed, toasted mallow, marigold

Strawberry and cassava danish: Strawberry, cassava jam, cornmeal cake, vanilla pastry cream, spring herb and collard gremolata

More about Chef Foster: I enjoy cooking, hiking, and spending time with friends. I am a chef who has worked their way around various kitchens in Asheville for the last 4 years. After a 2 year stint as the pastry chef for Chestnut & Corner Kitchen, I took on the role as Sous Chef & Pastry Chef for Eldr, then served a brief stint at High Climate Tea and am now Pastry Chef at Rhubarb (@rhubarbavl).

#trialtotable #ashevillenc #ashevilleevents #828isgreat #food #farming

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Our next chef for our May 18 Trial to Table at @plebavl is Chef Brooke Adams (@hotfoodishot), chef at @culturaavl who worked with us during a recent @mypbsnc filming session for The State of Change. We`re excited to have Brooke cooking for her first Trial to Table! Tickets available via the link in our bio and Brooke`s menu below:

Collard green chip “tostada”: Braised and dehy collard green chip topped with a Cajun smoked trout salad, puffed corn, celery, pickled onion.

Sorghum sourdough toast: Sorghum flour/kvass sourdough bread, cultured butter, goumi berry jam, spring greens and herbs.

More about Chef Adams: Embark on a flavorful journey with Brooke, a culinary virtuoso with roots in the vibrant city of Asheville, NC. For the past five years, she’s been making waves at Cultura, under the mentorship of Chef Eric Morris (@cire6682). With a knack for preserving and fermenting, Brooke adds a dash of innovation to every recipe she touches.

#trialtotable #ashevillenc #ashevilleevents #ashevillechefs #828isgreat #food #farming

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Thanks to our Sustaining Sponsors

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