We have spent a lot of time thinking about how we can best work with farmers and growers to get the crops we are trialing to a wider audience to advance our crop advocacy and education work. We recognize that YOU are the people on the ground, at the farmers markets, in the restaurants, who are making things happen!
Our Growing Partner program aims to provide farmers with a small amount of growing material (seeds/plants) that the farmers feel connected to or excited about. We want to form meaningful relationships with our Growing Partners, but our expectations are quite minimal. Throughout the growing season we would love to be tagged in social media posts (IG/FB @utopianseedproject). Photo sharing is welcomed. At the end of the growing season we would like to hear your anecdotal feedback about the crop(s) you have grown. Basic observations are also helpful: planting dates, field conditions, pest/disease pressure, first fruiting, yield etc. This will help us decide which crops have broad potential.
A few important notes about our Growing Partner Program:
- We do not have the capacity or desire to become seed and plant material suppliers. We freely share this material with the expectation that you will attempt to save some of your own propagation material.
- Filling in this form does not guarantee the receipt of seeds or plant material. Our Patreon platform offers premium/guaranteed access to our plant material.
- Once distributed, we claim no exclusivity to this material and hope our work can lead to income opportunities for you and your farm. TUSP aims to facilitate the diversification of the food system through demonstration, education and inspiration. We encourage you to pick up the baton on any promising crops and run with them.
- If you choose to test something out or want to run a specific trial or taste test then we are happy to continue the conversation and support you in any way we can (i.e. one farmer has asked to run a purple sweet potato trial for her market farm; another farm has offered a graduate research project into water chestnuts). These opportunities are exciting, but not expected.
- At some point grant funding will allow us to pay farmers to run trials, at that point we are likely to use our network of Growing Partners as primary trial sites.
- A final note – I know that comments along the lines of, “I’m happy to trial anything.” “Send me what whatever you want.” etc. are well intentioned, but they are not overly helpful. I’m hoping that the reason you want to be a Growing Partner is that you appreciate our work and have seen or heard about something we are doing that has inspired you, interests you or you feel connected to.