From the February 2008 Idaho Observer:

From Russia with love—and hope

In 1980, Seeds Trust’s founder Bill McDorman was attending the University of Montana when he chose to devote his life to preserving heirloom seeds for reasons which, to him, seemed both practical and environmental as well as philosophical. "The new hybrid varieties of vegetables filling the seed catalogs in those days didn’t perform well in my Montana garden. The ‘old, good-tasting’ varieties my northside neighbors had grown since they were kids had disappeared.

McDorman (pictured at left as he was leaving his Russian "dachnik" friends in 1989) began to see a larger, global problem: The so-called "Green Revolution" through genetic modification of food crops and the patenting of plant genetics. "The centralization and hybridization of the seed industry that was making gardening in my yard more difficult seemed to be affecting the whole planet," McDorman said.

"We were in danger of destroying in one generation, the agricultural diversity that took mankind 10,000 years to create. I remember looking at a map of the world trying to find cold climate areas which might still be rich in a web of active seed savers saving old varieties. The Soviet Union leaped out. Maybe the Iron Curtain had hidden and protected an unbroken link to some ageless genetic heritage."

You can read McDorman’s entire story online at

The story is fascinating and one has to admire this man for having the foresight to see what was happening to our seed stock and then making heirloom seeds available to us at this precipitous time. A variety of hardy, heirloom garden seeds can be readily obtained from Seeds Trust in Cornville, Arizona, by ordering online or calling (928) 649-3315.