Chelsea Green Publishing

Chelsea Green Blog

A Short History of Agricultural Seed

Seeds are the foundation of agriculture.

As John Navazio describes in this excerpt from his new book, The Organic Seed Grower: A Farmer’s Guide to Vegetable Seed Production, America was once home to hundreds of small-scale seed producers, each of which developed seeds adapted to grow best in the surrounding region.

Today, following the trend of most business, just a few large companies provide seed for farmers everywhere. With the advent and rapid spread of transgenic seeds, and companies like Monsanto actually owning patents to the organisms they sell, we’ve come a long way since the first human saved the first spelt seed back in the Fertile Crescent!

What have we lost in the move to corporate seed production? Navazio explains in this excerpt, and points the way to a better system.

A Short History of Agricultural Seed: An Excerpt from The Organic Seed Grower by


New French edition of The Resilient Farm and Homestead available

Great news for French-speaking fans of Ben Falk’s The Resilient Farm and Homestead: An Innovative Permaculture and Whole Systems Design Approach. The French language translation is now available from Imagine Un Colibri, from French booksellers, and on Amazon.fr. Falk’s book is a technical manual that details the strategies he and his team have developed for […] Read More

How to Make Biochar

Doing some spring cleaning around your property? By making biochar from brush and other hard-to-compost organic material, you can improve soil—it enhances nutrient availability and also enables soil to retain nutrients longer. This excerpt from The New Farmer’s Almanac, Volume 3, explains how to get started. To make biochar right in your garden, start by […] Read More

Generosity as Activism, and Other Homesteading Principles to Live By

“Like everyone I know, we occasionally find ourselves faced with a decision to which there is no obvious answer,” says Ben Hewitt, coauthor of The Nourishing Homestead. “Do we borrow money to build a bigger barn, or do we keep getting by with what we have? Do we spend our meager savings on trees and […] Read More

Pass the Walnut Syrup?

Everyone knows and loves maple syrup, and in some states (like Chelsea Green’s home state of Vermont), it’s big business. However, it’s a widespread myth that maples are the only trees that can be tapped to produce sap, according to Michael Farrell, sugarmaker and director of Cornell University’s Uihlein Forest. Sap can also be collected […] Read More

4 Books for Growing Food in Winter

Don’t let cold weather stop you from producing and enjoying your own food. For many, the coming of winter simply means cultivation moves indoors or under cover. Small farmers, homesteaders, home gardeners, and commercial growers can extend the growing season with techniques outlined in these essential books. There’s no need for urbanites and small-space dwellers […] Read More
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