Q: Do you know of any groups around Atlanta that are involved in raising heirloom varieties of vegetables? I received the book “Heirloom Vegetables” by Sue Stickland as a Christmas gift and am interested in looking into this further.
A: The good folks at Georgia Organics (770-621-4642) might include a couple of enthusiastic seed-savers.
I’d also bet that subscribers to the Farmers and Consumers Market Bulletin would include gardeners interested in heirloom seed.
You could also make an enjoyable trip across the state line to the South Carolina Botanical Gardens, near Clemson University. Dr. David Bradshaw tends an extensive collection of heirloom vegetables there, including ‘Turkey Gizzard’ beans, ‘Choppee’ okra and ‘Plumgranny’ melons. You can find them on the Web at the South Carolina Foundation Seed Association.
Dr. Virginia Nazarea in the Department of Anthropology at the University of Georgia has initiated a program called Pass Along Southern Seeds (PASS). Her project is dedicated to the “conservation through use” of southern heirloom vegetable seeds. It was originally funded by the United States Department of Agriculture but she is continuing it with volunteer help. Participants receive an allotment of seed to grow and must promise afterwards keep a third, pass on a third and return a third of their harvest.