Every world-changing movement begins with a shared dream...
In early 2014, three old friends and seed lovers—Bill McDorman, Belle Starr, and John Caccia—had an idea to create a network in the Rocky Mountain West that would connect communities with the seeds that sustain them. Through education and other supportive services, this organization would help people reclaim the ancient tradition of seed saving and stewardship to grow a more resilient future in their towns, neighborhoods, and backyards. Their vision: a region filled with local farmers and gardeners producing a diverse abundance of crops—food, wildflowers, and grasses—from locally adapted seeds.
Bill and Belle had just spent the previous three years shepherding a similar movement in the Southwest as co-directors of the prestigious seed conservation non-profit Native Seeds/SEARCH. In search of their next project, they looked north to the Rockies where Bill, an Idaho native, is regarded as the authority on Rocky Mountain wildflowers and all things seeds. Back in Bill’s hometown of Sun Valley, his longtime friend John Caccia was managing the newly formed Wood River Seed Library. The three friends met to discuss the region’s resources, needs, and challenges around seed diversity and food security. With a spark of inspiration, a basic concept and a strategic plan took shape; they decided to go for it. As magic would have it, an anonymous donor loved the concept, and within a few weeks, the Rocky Mountain Seed Alliance was off and running.
The primary mission of the Rocky Mountain Seed Alliance (RMSA) is to create a resilient Rocky Mountain West by connecting communities with the seeds that sustain them. We are building a network of seed stewards, distributors, educators and seed storage facilities throughout the Rocky Mountain region. Our work emphasizes the sharing of seed saving knowledge to preserve and promote the use of regionally adapted crops, herbs, wildflowers, and native grass seeds. By developing and supporting community-based seed conservation strategies, resource monitoring, and grassroots networking, RMSA works to ensure an abundant, uncontaminated, and diverse supply of seeds is available for present and future generations.
As the project develops, RMSA will also inventory and identify “at risk” native plant and crop varieties. Our collaborations with existing governmental seed and restoration programs will assist in environmental recovery efforts. This is an especially important area of concern as wildfires and other natural and human-caused disasters have taken a toll on wildlife habitat and food sources. RMSA is very excited about connecting with growers specializing in native grass and wildflower seed production.
Above all, RMSA celebrates the remarkable power of seeds and the timeless tradition of seed saving. We envision a resilient Rocky Mountain West where the health of our communities and environments are supported by diverse and abundant supplies of locally grown seeds. If you share this bright vision, please join us in this important and inspiring work.