Adaptive Seeds

Andrew Still and Sarah Kleeger
Sweet Home, OR


Adaptive Seeds produces and sells PNW grown, open-pollinated and organic garden seed. Adaptive grew out of The Seed Ambassadors Project, an initiative started in 2005, when Andrew and Sarah began traveling to collect and share seeds and seed saving skills. Through their work with Seed Ambassadors, they have traveled to 12 countries and have collected over 800 varieties of seed. Many of these varieties form the Adaptive Seeds catalog foundation.

Adaptive stewards rare and diverse varieties for ecologically-minded farmers and gardeners. They offer northern adapted, exclusively open-pollinated varieties, and many diverse gene pool mixes (landraces) that include a diversity of flavors (and sometimes colors) within a single cultivar. Adaptive doesn’t buy and re-sell mass produced commodity or corporate seed. What they don’t grow themselves is grown by a handful of small regional growers who they transparently celebrate in their catalog.

Adaptive Seeds breeding goals include selecting crops that grow well under low input organic conditions and for cool weather tolerant early maturity. Finding opportunities to introduce unique varieties with great flavor to small scale organic farming is an important goal, as is trying to find the sweet spot between what grows well here and what is marketable for farmers. Another goal is to select Pacific Northwest heritage crops to regain their former glory, as many have been neglected over the years.

Their ‘Gulag Stars’ kale is a breeding project started by independent plant breeder Tim Peters seeking to find interesting new kale shapes, colors and flavors with added winter hardiness. Adaptive Seeds is selecting out some of the most unusual traits and continuing with Tim's original project. Through the Culinary Breeding Network, chef Timothy Wastell is collaborating on this project, choosing traits from a culinary perspective.