Episode-1148- Tom Stearns of High Mowing Organic Seeds


Tom Stearns of High Mowing Organic Seeds

Tom Stearns began gardening at an early age at his family home in CT.  Prior to completing a degree in Sustainable Agriculture from Prescott College in AZ, he began saving seeds.  A hobby was born in 1996 in Vermont, when Tom began sharing these seeds with others through a small seed flyer.

Today High Mowing Organic Seeds has since expanded into one of the leading organic seed companies in the U.S., supplying both home gardeners and commercial growers.  Tom’s vision has always been to create a company that would help support the re-building of healthy food systems, first in Vermont, followed by the rest of the U.S.

He has also taught numerous workshops since 1996 on many topics such as ag. education, economics, community supported agriculture, genetic engineering, plant breeding, local food systems, sustainable business, investing and more.  His informal, personal style, ability to explain complex issues and infectious enthusiasm makes him a popular and inspiring speaker.

In addition, he has served on the board of several agricultural organizations, most notably as the current President of The Center for an Agricultural Economy since 2008.  He lives on 50 acres in Vermont, with his wife Heather, and their two girls, Ruby and Cora.

Tom joins us to discuss beyond fighting GMO’s and moving past the things that we don’t like and how to start building the things we want.  We begin by discussing why seeds matter so much in the first place. How we lost control of our seeds as a socitety and how individuals, how can get started saving seeds easily.

We also discuss how seed self-reliance contribute to building healthy communities and individual sovereignty.   We also go beyond seed saving and discuss how to breed varieties for the food systems that we want.  We also do discuss some of the true dangers of GMO foods and how they actually contribute to bad agricultural practices and the destruction of soils.

 Resources for today’s show…

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14 Responses to Episode-1148- Tom Stearns of High Mowing Organic Seeds

  1. Giving the show a listen now. Seems things always come together in weird ways. I just picked up a good book, Plant Breeding for the Home Gardener: How to Create Unique Vegetables and Flowers by Joseph Tychonievich. What drew me in was his trials of ridding his squash vine borer with his zucchini. He crossed it with something that was resistant to the borers and got what he needed.

  2. Been a customer for a while now, but I’m just curious Tom, how do you come up with a name like “High Mowing” ?

  3. thewarriorhunter

    haven’t listened to the show yet but i’ve bought a lot of seeds from these guys. great company!

  4. The New Mike

    This was an awesome interview.

  5. Definitely enjoyed the interview. I have a question about heirloom seeds: are those seed packets at big box stores that are labeled “heirloom” really so? I’ve seen lots of Burpee seeds in the stores and while most don’t have that label, some do, and because of what I’ve been hearing on TSP I’ve considered buying them, but was wondering if they were really an heirloom seed or simply some marketing ploy. Thanks!


    • The New Mike

      Yes they are heirloom types. If you take the name of the seed variety and look them up you’ll see thats the case. An example would be the black krim tomatos that I’m growing now.

      I’d say about a third of my seeds this year were burpee, while the others were from Victory and High Mowing.

  6. My wife’s uncle selectively saved seed from the Cock’s Comb flower for 20 + years to end up with a magenta color that I’ve not seen anyplace else. He has been dead 12 years now and I have some of that seed. I last grew it out in 2010 and am trying it again this year. I have some seed form 2010 and a lot more from around the year 2000.

    This is a piece of family history and it is easy to let is slip away when your life gets busy. If you wait too long the seed is no longer viable, which gives the lesson save a larger amount of the seed if you can. Even if viability drops to 1% and you have 1,000 + seeds you can still rebuild your seed stock.

  7. GMO’s were discussed in this interview. Could this executive order do some good? http://ceq.hss.doe.gov/nepa/regs/eos/eo13112.html

    If you review the definitions it would be pretty easy to call a GMO non-native.

    • Modern Survival

      Nope GMOs of existing varieties are listed by your government as GRAS.

      Generally Recognized as Safe

  8. This was a great conversation. I really, really, really enjoy this sort of thing and I learned a lot from listening to it. It’s the experimenting and learning part of growing things that make it so exciting.

  9. Wonderful interview. Makes me happy that I bought from them this year.

  10. Excellent interview! I really enjoyed this. Thanks Jack and Tom.

  11. Is there a transcript of this? Thanks!

  12. Dheerecrossing

    I placed a small order with High Mowing earlier this week. The day they sent me an email with the tracking information, it was in my mailbox the same day. Great shipping time. I plan to start some of these seeds for the ‘second season’ here in North Texas. If I start them now and put them out in the middle of Summer, I’m sure I’d loose more than if I wait another couple months.