Planting the Seed
All of the food that you ate today, all of the clothes you’re wearing, and all of the air you’re breathing at this very moment: all start with a seed. These are just a few reasons why Jared Hagood, owner, and founder of Lineage Seeds, believes that this tiny, shell-coated sphere is the foundation of life. But not everyone loves seeds as much as he does…yet.
Here’s why: “Seed is sold to the same people — farmers and gardeners — and it’s all sold in the same way — little paper packets sold in grocery stores and greenhouse stores,” says Hagood.
The truth is unless you’re looking for them, seed isn’t something most of us come in contact with. But, it wasn’t always like this.
Getting Down to the Roots
As Eric Skokan, owner of Black Cat Farm (a Lineage Seeds producer), points out, “If you go back fifty years, almost all the seed was produced regionally. Now, I can order seeds on-demand, and if I’m willing to pay extra for shipping, I can get it within 24 hours. With the advantage of global seed, purchasing comes a lost desire for locally adapted seed.”
The trouble is that “The best agriculture comes when we’re searching for round pegs to go in round holes,” Skokan explains. “Commercial agriculture is not a part of that search because you can always apply enough chemicals to make that square peg fit into the round hole.
“Locally adapted seed is the ultimate round peg.”
The way Hagood puts it, “Seed is an essential industry that needs some marketing innovation.”
Digging Up the Past
I think I’ll learn how to farm, thought the then twenty-one-year-old Hagood, that’s going to be important no matter what happens; no matter what country I’m in; no matter what language.
So he did. But six years into his vegetable farming career, this calling demanded something deeper.
“I thought, I need to learn seed production, not just food production.That’s where all this starts.”
Hagood spent the following four years as an apprentice.
“In that process, I found one of the most incredible relationships I’d ever experienced: this relationship to seed,” says Hagood.
“I saw an opportunity where I was like, what if I could sell seed to people who’ve never bought seed before? Well, how would I do that?”
Sprouting New Life
At the foundation of this product, is a local seed bank of over 1,000 genetics grown and kept by Rich Pecoraro, Hagood’s primary seed mentor.
There would also need to be more support for seed work, more education, and one other crucial element. “I’d need to make it cooler and give it a modern upgrade.”
“I’d need to make a really badass package design: something that’s a piece of art so that people will want it just because it stands out,” Hagood says.
What’s unique about the label is that it highlights the name of the farmer and where that specific package was grown.
“It gives credit to the farmer, but allows for transparency for the end consumer,” says Hagood.
That’s a big change from an industry that’s accustomed to reselling wholesale seeds with a different brand slapped on the front.
Ultimately, this mission hopes to inspire future generations. “Our culture has the tendency to say, ‘I don’t have time,’ or ‘I have a brown thumb, I’m going to kill it.’ We want to help heal that relationship.”
“You don’t even need to grow anything — just be closer to seeds — be keepers; it has value just sitting in your home. It will add value to your life if you have a home seed bank.”
Find Lineage Seeds in some of your favorite Boulder spots: Cured, Wonder Press, Trident Booksellers and Cafe, Moxie Bread Co., Lucky’s Market, and more. The company is currently looking for a business partner both for the product and to maintain this collection of seeds for future generations. To learn more, visit LineageSeeds.com or follow @LineageSeeds.
Published in Boulder Lifestyle, April 2018.