Growing Together: Open Forum

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  • 1.  In search of rare wild leek seed

    Posted 03-17-2022 04:29:00 PM
    Hi! My town is in the process of welcoming 100 Afghan refugees into our community, and we are hoping to grow some culturally relevant crops in school gardens.  We had ordered gandana seeds (Allium atroviolaceum) online, however, our order was canceled unexpectedly.  We're having a hard time finding another source for these seeds.  
    Do any of you have creative suggestions about where we could find these seeds?

    Maybe you know people from that region (Afghanistan, Syria, Lebanon, Turkey, Iran, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Georgia, Armenia, Turkmenistan, Azerbaijan) who are already growing gandana and would share seeds with us, or maybe you are connected with a refugee garden project who might have these seeds?

    Let me know if you have any creative ideas.

    Sheila Humphreys

  • 2.  RE: In search of rare wild leek seed

    Posted 03-18-2022 12:07:00 PM
    Hi Sheila,

    I don't know about this crop in particular, but here are a couple of small seed companies I know focused on culturally significant seeds adapted to growing in the US.  If they don't have what you are looking for, email them directly, both are wonderful committed companies and may have another idea for you.

    Two Seeds in a Pod, Mehmet Öztan and Amy Thompson, based in WV, focus is on Turkish varieties.  Mehmet also hosts a series called "Seedy Talks" featuring other folks doing seed sovereignty work.

    True Love Seeds, based in Philly, collaborates with a lot of cool small farmers and community groups to grow seeds with a focus on culturally significant crops.


    Johanna Nelson

  • 3.  RE: In search of rare wild leek seed

    Posted 03-18-2022 01:30:00 PM
    Hi Sheila,

    Eggplant and peppers are very integral to many Afghani dishes.  Though you will find okra, potatoes, cucumber, and lots of others grown in abundance. Rhubarb is another good one -- those are rhizomes rather than seeds. 
    Here are a few companies that are worth investigating.  Also, Etsy often has really unusual seeds or plants. (Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds -- lots of Asian varieties -- they also donate seed.) ( The Grower's Exchange sells herb plants, asafoetida and mullein are common in Afghani culture.) (Southern Exposure Seed Exchange has a great variety of eggplant and okra -- they also donate seed.)

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