Image: A garden scene.

Welcome to Fedco’s 46th Year!

This year, as we announce our decision to drop all varieties from Syngenta Group, we reflect back on the legacy left by our founding members, who built a business grounded in cooperation, transparency and shared values. From our co-op’s inception—a few frugal folks buying in bulk and filling seed packets together—to today with three distinct businesses under joint cooperative leadership and more than 100 workers, the vision of doing things a little differently, a little better, has remained.

In my early twenties I was among the many young people who flocked to Maine’s vibrant agricultural landscape, eager to learn from some of the best organic vegetable farmers in the country. From radicle to roots, I grew a still-deepening appreciation for the lifestyles and livelihoods not exactly unique to rural New England, but quintessential to it. I learned what it meant to work with my hands, harvesting apples, pruning trees, weeding carrots, hauling seaweed for mulch. I taught young students about four-season gardening; coordinated MOFGA’s Common Ground Country Fair; and finally embarked on an organic farming endeavor of my own, tending vegetables, flowers and mushrooms. I’ve learned to cultivate wealth in relationships, in rich soils, in mindfulness and in mettle.

In the summer of 2022, as Nikos Kavanya prepared to retire after forty years at Fedco, my roots branched once more to find the fertile ground she was stepping away from. As I settle into the role of Branch Coordinator at Fedco Seeds, I look into our co-op’s history for guidance in ways to provide leadership, strength, allyship, and advocacy in the challenging times ahead.

Fedco was among the first seed companies to sign on to the Safe Seed Pledge, vowing to sell only non-GMO and untreated seed. Guided by Fedco founder CR Lawn’s insistence that radical transparency is necessary to run an ethical seed business, we label each variety in our catalog with a supplier code so you know where your seeds come from. We support small growers, new farmers, independent plant breeders, indigenous seed keepers, and farmers of color. Since 2006 we’ve boycotted Monsanto, and now we will no longer do business with Syngenta Group.

Fedco Seeds’ gritty presence, our founders’ unwavering (and occasionally cantankerous!) stances on issues crucial to the preservation of agrarian lifestyles—protecting our commons, our environment, and the inalienable human right to save seed—shaped my outlook on what it is to be meaningfully engaged in cultivating a sustainable future. As you look through this catalog, I hope you’ll share in my gratitude for the tenacity and good humor of our predecessors, whose work will orient us well as we continue along the path less traveled.

– Courtney Williams