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Past Projects: RAFT Alliance

Comprised of the American Livestock Breeds Conservancy, Center for Sustainable Environments, Chefs Collaborative, Cultural Conservancy, Native Seeds/SEARCH, Slow Food USA, and Seed Savers Exchange, the coalition launched its national campaign with the release of the book, Renewing American’s Food Traditions: Bringing cultural and culinary mainstays from the past into the new millennium. The book highlights stories of twenty authentic American foods – profiles of ten endangered and ten recovering foods – and includes the first Redlist of America’s Endangered Foods.

The RAFT Red list includes approximately 40 heirloom crops maintained in the NS/S Seedbank that were once common within Native American communities in the southwestern US or northwestern Mexico. Botanically speaking, not all are native to the New World, having been brought instead by early Spanish explorers and missionaries as well as recent immigrants. They were, however, all adopted by native cultures and became culturally important as foods, within ceremonies, and part of local languages.

As a partner in the RAFT initiative, NS/S is growing out many of the 40 listed crops in order to supply sufficient quantities for cooking and tasting events and distribution to growers and producers. Between 2005 and 2006, we grew one-half of the list, including O’odham Pink bean, Taos Red bean, Hopi Red and Pima Grey limas, Four Corners runner bean, Tohono O’odham cowpea, Santa Domingo melon, yellow-meated watermelon, O’odham chiltepin, Chimayo and Cochiti chiles, O’odham peas, Hopi Red Dye amaranth, Zuni tomatillo, Taos Blue corn, Early Baart and Sonoran White wheats, and Hopi and Tarahumara sunflowers.

For more information on RAFT, please visit the RAFT website.

NS/S holdings on the RAFT Redlist

 

  • Hopi Red Dye amaranth
  • Amarillo del Norte bean
  • Bolita bean
  • Four Corner’s Gold bean
  • O’odham Pink Bean
  • Rio Zape bean
  • Taos Red bean
  • Hopi Red lima bean
  • Pima Grey lima bean
  • Aztec White runner bean
  • Four Corners runner bean
  • Brown tepary bean
  • White tepary bean
  • Tohono O’odham cowpea
  • Zuni tomatillo
  • Casaba melon (Santa Domingo, Cochiti)
  • O’odham Ke:li Ba:so melon
  • I’itoi Shallot
  • New Mexico pea
  • O’odham pea
  • Chiltepin (O’odham)
  • Chimayo chile
  • Cochiti chile
  • Black Amber sorghum
  • Big Cheese squash
  • Navajo Blue hubbard
  • Peñasco Cheese squash
  • Hopi-Havasupai, Hopi Dye sunflowers
  • Tarahumara White sunflower
  • Yellow-Meated watermelon (Hopi, O'odham)
  • Chapalote corn
  • Kokoma corn
  • Mexican June corn
  • Taos Blue corn
  • Tohono O’odham 60-day corn
  • Sonoran Panic grass
  • Early Baart wheat
  • Sonoran White wheat
Securing the Future of Food

Securing the Future of Food

Crop diversity is key to achieving sustainable food security both globally and within our own region of focus, the southwestern U.S. and northwestern Mexico. Our approach to food security focuses on seed security, which relies on the conservation and sharing of appropriate crop diversity and the knowledge to use that diversity effectively. Our programs are designed to address these goals and broadly entail:

  • Seed banking to ensure the survival of unique agricultural biodiversity and to document its traits.
  • Seed distribution so that these crops continue to contribute to the region's food systems.
  • Support for on-farm maintenance of dynamically-evolving crop varieties.
  • Research into low-input and climate-appropriate agricultural practices.
  • Education in managing local crop diversity and contributing to regional efforts.
Learn More About Our Approach
Many Ways to Get Connected with Seeds

Many Ways to Get Seeds

Agricultural biodiversity is most valuable when it is actively used to strengthen local food and farming systems. With this in mind, Native Seeds/SEARCH strives to provide affordable public access to seeds of regionally-appropriate crop varieties. We have programs designed to meet the needs of many types of individuals and organizations.

    • ADAPTS: An online platform for exploring the contents of the NS/S seed bank collection. If you want to conduct a detailed search for appropriate crop varieties, start here. Otherwise, you may explore currently available seed varieties through our online store.
    • Native American Seed Request: Provides a limited number of seed packets at zero or reduced cost to Native American individuals.
    • Seed Library: If you are in Tucson, Arizona, we encourage you to visit our seed library.
    • Retail Sales: If you are looking for seeds for personal use and are ineligible for seeds through our other programs, you may purchase seeds online or at our retail store in Tucson, Arizona. Some varieties are in limited supply and are restricted to NS/S members and Free Seed recipients.
    • ADAPTS: An online platform for exploring the contents of the NS/S seed bank collection. If you want to conduct a detailed search for appropriate crop varieties, start here. Otherwise, you may explore currently available seed varieties through our online store.
    • Native American Seed Request: Provides a limited number of seed packets at zero or reduced cost to Native American individuals.
    • Bulk Seed Exchange: Makes bulk seed quantities available to farmers in exchange for a return of seeds after a successful harvest.
    • Retail Sales: If you are looking for seeds for personal use and are ineligible for seeds through our other programs, you may purchase seeds online or at our retail store in Tucson, Arizona. Some varieties are in limited supply and are restricted to NS/S members and Free Seed recipients.
    • ADAPTS: An online platform for exploring the contents of the NS/S seed bank collection. If you want to conduct a detailed search for appropriate crop varieties, start here. Otherwise, you may explore currently available seed varieties through our online store.
    • Community Seed Grants: Free seeds for organizations (including schools) that are working to promote nutrition, food security, education, agricultural sustainability, and/or community resilience.
    • Retail Sales: If you are looking for seeds for personal use and are ineligible for seeds through our other programs, you may purchase seeds online or at our retail store in Tucson, Arizona. Some varieties are in limited supply and are restricted to NS/S members and Free Seed recipients.
    • ADAPTS: An online platform for exploring the contents of the NS/S seed bank collection. If you want to conduct a detailed search for appropriate crop varieties, start here. Otherwise, you may explore currently available seed varieties through our online store.
    • Researchers: If you are a researcher interested in incorporating material from our collection into your research, please contact us. We are committed to continued open public accessibility of crop diversity and will not make seeds available for research purposes that are contrary to that goal.
Learn More about How to Obtain Seeds
Many Ways to Get Educated

Many Ways to Get Educated

At Native Seeds/SEARCH, we believe that education is an important key to building individual and community capacity for seed and food security. Our education offerings are intended to provide skills and knowledge around seed saving, aridlands agriculture, and related topics.

  • Courses and Workshops: Our instructional programming trains individuals and organizations in the Southwest to save, share, and produce their own seeds. We offer focused courses for students at different learning levels and seed saving goals.
  • Native Seeds/SEARCH Blog: Our blog is frequently updated with stories and practical advice related to the work that we do and the issues that we care about.
  • The Seedhead News: Our tri-annual newsletter also contains a wealth of useful information to help you get the most out of your seeds and to understand their cultural and historical contexts.
  • Our website also contains pages about Gardening in the Desert and Seed Saving.
Learn More About Our Education Programs

News and Stories

Fall Planting for Spring Blooms

Fall Planting for Spring Blooms

Community Partner Highlight: Las Milpitas Farm

Community Partner Highlight: Las Milpitas Farm

Cool Season Growing in the Low Desert

Cool Season Growing in the Low Desert

Great Grasshopper Plague of 2017

Great Grasshopper Plague of 2017

Conservation Center Garden Updates: September 2017

Conservation Center Garden Updates: September 2017

Tale of Two Seed Libraries

Tale of Two Seed Libraries

Native Seeds/SEARCH is a 501(c)(3). Copyright © 2015 Native Seeds/SEARCH. All Rights Reserved.