The joy of giving heirloom, open pollinated, nongmo seeds for local food, wellness, library checkouts

How riding a Trek 7.1 on East 55th and Central Avenue helps delivery; ‘How much did you pay for your bike?’

By Gregory Jackson


What does a food waste recycling nonprofit organization give as gifts?  We can’t give you a rotten cucumber in a bag, or a black banana peel.  Since we are a resource recycling and conservation organization, we have discovered that offering open pollinated, organic heirloom, nonGMO, and native seeds is the perfect complementing gift to composting.  Nothing has brought us more joy than to offer organic seed to our urban farmers, growers, and donors.

This summer one of our urban growers asked, “Find out from the chefs what I should grow.”

In our understanding, offering all varieties of original open pollinated seed cultivates real food security through crop diversity.  While other urban farmers near commercialization have shared that they have been seeking single urban farm crops, but value diversity at farmers markets.  To help launch Cleveland’s first closed-loop local food crop, we will begin offering free seed to our growers who work with Groundz local food initiatives.

We currently source our seed from three trusted nonGMO, open pollinated and organic seed sources:  Seed Savers Exchange, Baker Creek, and High Mowing Seed Companies.

Since my 1999 Ford Taurus broke down after launching Groundz, I have been cycling on my Trek 7.1 this year, logging about 1,000 miles.  As I was riding down East 55th Street and Central Avenue in Cleveland, I came across a young man walking, while I waited at a red light, after making seed deliveries.

“How much did you pay for your bike?”

“A good amount.”

“Man, you ’bout to rob me?”


Luckily the light changed green; as I rode off the young man said, “Man, I’m ’bout to pop you one.”  And pedaled as hard as I can.

We are also exploring possible collaboration with native seed banks to offer our urban farmers, growers, and donors.  In fact we are getting seed from Seed Savers Exchange, to help launch a new initiative with Cuyahoga County Public Library’s new seed library checkouts, but we are still in discussion, especially after recent awareness of a library branch in Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania, who offered seed checkouts and seed swaps has faced recent roadblocks (in the area concern of library customers returning non-verified seed).  We look forward to continue our collaboration on the library seed checkout program initiative, and providing seed to our farmers, growers, and donors.  Even urban farmers and growers should be growing native plants for good honeybee cross-pollination and conservation.


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