Coming Soon to Vergas: a Seed House
Earlier this year, Zachary Paige of North Circle Seeds and the Lake Agassiz Chapter got a lead from a friend on a grant opportunity from Ceres Trust. The deadline was coming up quickly, but he took a crack at a proposal. $25,000 could get the seed collective pretty close to covering the construction of a much needed seed cleaning, storage, and community space.
That lead ended up turning into a dream scenario of being granted $30,000. Now the wheels of the project are turning. Paige says they are looking to have the building up by December and put it to use right away for seed cleaning, winnowing, and packing. These processes are currently scattered about the farm in outbuildings and in Paige’s home, and the seed house will unify the operation under one roof. Not to mention giving Paige a little more work/life balance—seeds are overtaking the house.
Paige says that having this space is supporting both “the collective work and the e-commerce business model” of North Circle Seeds. The company employs anywhere from 4-10 seed producers growing organic, regionally adapted seeds, and the seed house will be open for any of these growers to utilize. Paige also notes that seed cleaning will be more efficient in the seed house, a gain for both the growers and the sustainability of North Circle Seeds.
In addition to being a place for day-to-day operations, the new seed house will be a gathering space for “Seed Saving School” events and seed packing parties. Paige plans to “provide sustainable farmers in Minnesota the opportunity to attend hands-on seed saving workshops and classes” and to explore “the how-to of how North Circle cleans, packages, and stores over 70 varieties of seed and sustains a of regionally adapted organic seed collective.” North Circle Seeds already hosts such events, but bringing them into the seed house is expected in late summer or fall 2023.
If you’d like to learn more about North Circle Seeds and the work of their collective, visit northcircleseeds.com or send an email to email@example.com. And, consider checking out the numerous funding opportunities at the bottom of this issue of Connect (under “Also Noted”). An idea just might turn into a big boost for your farm.