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Cultivating Place: Johnny's Selected Seeds, Independent Home and Market Grower Seed Supplier

All photos courtesy of Johnny’s Selected Seeds: Johnny’s Crew circa 1987.

As seed catalogs continue to arrive in our mailboxes and inboxes daily, filling our notebooks and dreams, we take a behind-the-scenes look at an independent seed source well-known to gardeners and market growers throughout North America: Johnny’s Selected Seeds.

Lettuce Field Trials.

We are in conversation with current CEO Dave Melhorn and Lauren Giroux, Director of Product Selection and Trialing Research. Johnny’s stewards one of the largest in-ground seed-trialing programs in the United States.

For over 48 years Johnny's Selected Seeds has dedicated to "helping families and friends to feed one another.” Now 100% employee-owned, Johnny’s offers organic seed, F1 hybrid, open-pollinated, and heirloom seed varieties. "Johnny's does not knowingly sell genetically modified seeds"; nor do they "breed new varieties using genetic engineering."

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Dave Melhorn, CEO and Lauren Giroux, Director of Product Selection and Trialing Research.

Their breeders use "traditional, painstaking methods of natural crossing to create hybrid seeds that are healthy and safe.” They are proud to be "one of the nine original signers of the Safe Seed Pledge,” in 1999, an initiative of the Council for Responsible Genetics. Listen in this week!

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Jennifer Jewell is the creator and host of the national award-winning, weekly public radio program and podcast, Cultivating Place: Conversations on Natural History & the Human Impulse to Garden, Jennifer Jewell is a gardener, garden writer, and gardening educator and advocate. Particularly interested in the intersections between gardens, the native plant environments around them, and human culture, she is the daughter of garden and floral designing mother and a wildlife biologist father.
Matt Fidler is a producer and sound designer with over 15 years’ experience producing nationally distributed public radio programs. He has worked for shows such as Freakonomics Radio, Selected Shorts, Studio 360, The New Yorker Radio Hour and The Takeaway. In 2017, Matt launched the language podcast Very Bad Words, hitting the #28 spot in the iTunes podcast charts.