Annual Project, One Seed One Community

Home Gardens, Agrobiodiversity and Community Seed Saving

By Guest Writer, Hillie Salo

According to the CA Legislature:
Noncommercial seed sharing activity contributes significant value to the health of our communities and to the resilience of our food system.

Home gardeners create “ecological niches” which serve to preserve the diversity and adaptation to local environmental condition. Unlike larger production systems, home gardens harbor many species in small areas often with a few crop varieties and species that are not well represented in larger fields.

Diversity is the foundation on which selection for local adaptation to changing conditions like climate is based. These home gardens can be considered agrobiodiversity reservoirs in a micro- regional scale, being important areas for in situ and on farm conservation and including native and exotic plants.

In situ conservation is the conservation of species in placeseeds are planted and produced in the place where they are intended to grow. In situ conservation is different than ex situ preservation. Ex-situ conservation is the preservation of components of biological diversity outside place, away from where they grow. An example of ex situ preservation is the Svalbard Global Seed Vault in Norway; where seeds are saved for future crises, under stable conditions and not influenced by evolutionary forces.

In situ preservation allows communities to select for the seeds that survive challenging local conditions, with the best flavor or traits desired; building these traits into the genetics of the seed; seeds that may prove useful as we go forward in climate change.

In the community, Seed Libraries are our tools to build that local adaption in our local foods creating a reservoir of seeds found no where else in the world.

One Seed, One Community is an opportunity for communities to come together to support and encourage regionally adapted varieties by engaging in community plant selection.
For the 2020 growing season, there are two One Seed One Community suggested options. The Diversity tract with a new bean, the Jacob’s Cattle Bush Bean, found on the Ark of Taste, and the Adaptation tract with second generation Tuya Gvnagei aka Cherokee Trail of Tears Pole Bean, also found on the Ark of Taste.

We as a Slow Food community can come together with One Seed One Community to build that genetics into the foods we eat, so that we can continue to see them on our plate. Beans are a nutritious easy food to grow and save. In just 3 generations, beans have shown signs of adaptation. More info:

Annual Project, One Seed One Community

Defend the Future Save a Seed

By Guest Writer, Hillie Salo

Responsible Consumers: Seeds are the Starting Point, Think About It!

True awareness about what is on your plate begins with the first link in the food chain: the seed that creates the plant, flower and finally the fruit.

From Seeds According to Slow FOOD

USA Slow Food’s Plant a Seed is a wonderful program, introducing young people to the exciting world of growing your own food and peeking their curiosity with joyful new flavors. Next step is to give them tools to face the challenges of climate change. 

That is what One Seed One Community aims to do, by encouraging folks to save and share seeds. Each year, a Bean has been chosen from the Ark of Taste for the community to grow and complete life’s circle from seed to seed. 

Saving seeds over a period of time can lead to adaptation to the environment in which they were grown. Beans have been shown to present signs of adaptation over a period of just three growing seasons.!po=9.57447

This year OSOC has spread to various places in Northern and Southern California. Seed Libraries and many Slow Food members in 

Ukiah One Seed One Community 

San Diego 

Santa Monica

Santa Maria

San Louis Obispo 


Silicon Valley

San Leandro 

East Bay

San Francisco



and others are leading the charge in saving the Cherokee Trail of Tears bean.

An individual gardener’s gene pool of a plant variety often is not more than what can be held in the palm of the hand. A very small gene pool indeed! Seed Libraries are a community project that gives the community access to a diverse gene pool. As well, they can give low income, first time and community gardeners the potential to bring fresh healthy food into their lives. 

In the circle, Seed Libraries make seeds available, and the community grows and returns seeds to have a fresh stock of seeds available every year. Seed Libraries need community support in returning seeds. More often than not more seeds are taken than returned. OSOC invites the community to Save a Row for Diversity! to replenish our Seed Libraries. This year we are saving the Cherokee Trail of Tears Bean.

Slow Food chapters across the state may consider reaching out to their local Seed Library to start a One Seed One Community project for next year. Each chapter could challenge their membership to commit to raising so many pounds, maybe 2 pounds, 5,10,15, 25 pounds to donate to their local Seed Library and other community groups. Perhaps a school garden…

If you send your beans out to the community, and they are returned and grown again, we are well on our way to building a local diverse seed stock and food security. Local food begins with local seed. Seed the local Revolution!

Do you have a suggestion for next year’s bean?

Slow Food’s Position Paper on Seeds

Manifesto on the Future of Seeds

Heirloom Seeds to Cultivate the Future

Slow Food Europe’s section on Seeds