Environmental Planner turned
Food Activist and Farmer
A new breed of “rurbanista” farmers are taking up the mantle of seed preservation and flocking to rural areas to grow food. Sustainable Seed Company founder, John Fendley, is one of these pioneers.
Born in Texas, John grew up eating seasonally from his grandmother’s garden. From her he learned the "secrets" to feeding a family of seven: grow your own food. And the seed of his belief that organic, home grown food should be available to people of all backgrounds was planted.
John came to agriculture through his experience in historical preservation. He traveled to Central America where he collected and grew seeds, which instilled an awareness that a global sensibility to seed preservation was the key to food security. He discovered that culture, American roots and global migration can be traced though food, feeding his passion to tell the story of seeds.
So in 2008, he left corporate America and started The Sustainable Seed Company with the mission to grow and preserve as much organic, open-pollinated heirloom seed as possible.
Each year, John receives hundreds of heirloom seeds from gardeners around the world hoping to save them from extinction. He traces the seed history and verifies historic varieties by referring to his collection of century-old seed catalogs, which he treats like a research archive. Seeds are then trialed on the farm; through this process Fendley has been successful at bringing many heirloom varieties back into circulation. This is his passion and his mission.
His other mission is sustainability. Powered by 90% renewable green energy, the Covello, CA, farm is an example of the future of sustainable farming.
Today, Sustainable Seed Company offers more than 1,500 varieties of heirloom and organic seeds, and John stands as a symbol of the changing nature of farming, where farmers come out of the field to contribute to the food-obsessed American discourse.
The red barn and pitchfork have come a long way.
How did you end up in Covelo? I lived in the mountains north of town in 1977-1980. It's a beautiful place.
thats a great story, especially the fact that you started so early... you should have green sprouting out of your ears by now!
I discovered my love for a greenhouse and nursing plants just a year ago (and back then I was already 57 years young.)
Keep up the good work, I am growing a variety of you seed as we 'speak'.
And thank you for doing what you are doing.
I just saw your company featured on foodcrafters. You are so handsome.
Just wanted to say thank you for the free tomtato seeds! It was very kind and generous. I like many people these days am struggling, hoping that a backyard veggie garden will help out this year. Your free seeds are a very welcome gift. Just wanted...Deanna
I love what you are doing! I think it is wonderful that more people are interested, wish they never gave up....because our food supply is so awful now. I have been fighting against GMO's and will continue. It is the only way we will avoid...Antonia
Thank you so much for sending my order so quickly. I want to thank you for the extra package of eggplant seeds That was very pleasant and unexpected.Kaye
First of all, I would like to tell you how much I love your company and its offerings. I have been gardening in earnest for only a couple years now, but have had great success with all your products. Plus, I love all that you stand for and promote.Hailey
Just wanted to let you know I received my seeds, and I want to thank you on how quick my order was picked and shipped to me. I had order some seeds from another seed company in Missouri about a month ago still no seeds and no response from several...Arnold
I ordered a variety of vegetable seeds last spring. I have to tell you that the germination rate was better than any other heirloom seeds I have had before, and the plants thrived! In this climate zone 4 in Minnesota, the weather can do just about...Diane
Thanks .. great seeds last year close to 100% germination ratio.Charles
I think your service is great, your selection is amazing, and your prices do not break the bank! So I am looking forward to doing business with you in the future.Marianna
"We love your seed company! Thanks for providing the best seed!"Florida Urban Gardener
thank you so much! Pleasure to support you, happy to do so, hope to in the future as well. It was great to read all that info on each seed, and tips on planting, collecting seed, etc. Made it easier to make my seed choices.Kerstin