Seasonal Intentions: Sow True Seed Dreams

By | January 08, 2015
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sow true seed

The winter months are really a “time for drinking wine and imagination,” according to Chris Smith, the Community Coordinator at Sow True Seed in Asheville. I tend to agree. Every year I take time off of work for Christmas and New Years to take care of lists that have become too long and create a new list of things I want to accomplish in life. Part of this process includes me curling up with stacks of seed catalogs admiring the beauty that they offer, the fun varieties, and names I struggle to pronounce. While going through each catalog, I make a list of all the different seeds I want from each and how much it will cost. Every year, the total comes to about a million dollars. I then have to go back through and agonize over which varieties to cut. It’s difficult. Once I finally make up my mind, I giddily wait for the seeds to arrive. To keep me busy until then, I research which plants will be companions, make notes in my garden journal, and draw diagrams of how I’ll incorporate the new varieties. In other words, I’m a nerd. 

Sow True Seed is admittedly one of my favorite seed companies. The varieties are unique, have great germination rates, and they’re local-ish to the Upstate. Even though I knew what I loved about their company, I asked Chris what was so special about their seed. 

Sow True carries open-pollinated, nonhybrid, non-GMO vegetable, herb, flower and cover crop seeds. What does all this mean? If you save seed from one of their plants, you can grow it again the following year and it will grow true to type, hence the name Sow True Seed. They aren’t out to only produce quality seed, but to empower people to create a regionally sovereign food system. They focus on regionally specific, Appalachian varieties and encourage people to save seed, and even host workshops on the matter. 

I half-jokingly asked if the company was worried about putting itself out of business. Turns out they joke about it, too. Chris knows a lot about how seed was once used as currency in our history and believes it’s a great foundation of our shared cultural history. In the event our region becomes food sovereign, Sow True Seed would love to serve as a hub, where they could facilitate seed exchanges. 

The theme of their 2015 Catalog is “State your Intentions.” When I ask Chris about this, he says “We are taking our beliefs and convictions and putting them into action through the work we do each day.” Their five intentions: Sow, Germinate, Grow, Pollinate, Save, representing the cycle of seasons, and are depicted in the artwork on their catalog. They’re encouraging their customers to follow suit. 

It’s a good winter question. What are your intentions? 

You can find Sow True Seed in the Upstate at Earth Fare in Greenville, Henson Building Materials in Landrum, or online at 

Sow True Seed 
146 Church Street 
Asheville, NC 
Monday-Friday, 10am-4pm,or by appointment

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