Legenday seed saver Anpetu Ohainkesni passed away recently, leaving behind a bounty of rare seeds adapted to the Mountain West. To continue his legacy, RMSA is working to collect, preserve, and increase these precious heirlooms.
Anpetu owned Sourcepoint Seeds out of Hotchkiss, Colorado—a much-loved but relatively obscure bioregional seed company with a remarkably diverse catalog. When Anpetu died earlier this year, his seed tribe showed up to ensure his legacy of heirloom treasures would continue to be cared for.
RMSA’s Bill McDorman recently traveled to Hotchkiss to pay his respects to Anpetu, whom he met in 2015 (pictured here). He returned with eight 5-gallon plastic buckets filled with 170 rare grain samples Anpetu had been stewarding and adapting to the Rocky Mountain region. Another 40 buckets remain in Hotchkiss awaiting retrieval.
RMSA is in the process of sorting, identifying, and packaging these precious heirlooms. Ninety-three different varieties are currently available through our Rocky Mountain Heritage Grain Trials project; unsorted seeds will be stored at Flordemayo’s “The Path” Seed Temple, and a safety backup of all accessions will be added to the Tesuque Pueblo Seed Bank in New Mexico.
Imagine the potential preserved in this incredible bounty, a gift from a seed saver of epic proportions.
Among the varieties recovered are einkorn, wheat, barley, millet, and dryland, high-elevation rice. These seeds could be the source of a new, resilient food system for the Mountain West.
For millennia, our seed saving ancestors carefully created the abundant crop diversity we know and enjoy. This timeless tradition continues to this day in the backyard plots and small farms of seed stewards like Anpetu, who work quietly and passionately for decades creating the heirlooms of tomorrow. RMSA honors their noble efforts. We are committed to preserving the priceless seeds in collections like Anpetu’s, ensuring their gifts live on for generations to come.
Everyone has the power to become a legendary seed saver in their own right. Join RMSA’s Seed Stewards program and take part in this enduring tradition by saving seeds from your favorite crop. Soon we will be expanding this program to include Anpetu’s seeds and crowdsource the conservation of rare seeds adapted to our region. Thank you to Anpetu and to all our invaluable seed savers—past, present, and future!
Together, we can prevent the loss of our region’s precious genetic treasures.
If you hear about other seed stewards in your community who need help with their seeds or have passed away, please contact bill (at) rockymountainseeds.org. The Rocky Mountain Seed Alliance is dedicated to creating a region-wide network to save and share the hard work of seed stewards like Anpetu. These are the seeds that will perform the best in our region. Please make a donation to RMSA to help us with this critical work. Thanks to the support of the Pond Foundation, the first $9,000 in donations will be matched.