The Seedstead is
all about 'bringing seed home', and home is where the heart is. Our
heart lies in Africa, in family, in sharing, in seed. We are passionate
about what we do and how we do it.
The Seedstead is the next step in our family's journey, but perhaps we need to start at the beginning:
Sean and Nicola ably assisted by Tessa (who actually eats peppers) doing pepper evaluations
on their farm in South Africa.
The Freeman family has a long history in the seed industry, with the origins of The Seedstead rooted in South Africa.
As a young boy in Africa I was an inveterate seed collector and often had seed in my pockets, these often went through the washing cycle much to my mothers "amusement". My seed collecting at that point was typically focused around South African indigenous trees and plants, with me collecting seed anytime I found a tree or plant shedding seed, as I entered my teenage years this interest extended to orchids and other exotic plants.
With the arrival of our first child in 1998, one of our primary goals was to feed her the best food possible, and everyone knows that to do this you had to grow your own organic veggies. Which my wife and I promptly did.
This specific event is how our journey into vegetable seed started. I was soon collecting vegetable seed from every gardener in the area, and then some.
Within a matter of a year or two, my hobby had become a bit of an obsession, with people calling me from across the country as word of my unusual vegetable seed collection spread. People would call up specifically to ask for rare and unusual vegetable seed varieties, and I would gladly share. The beauty of this was they would often have something to exchange in return, and this added to our collection.
This modest collection formed the basis of South Africa's very first online heirloom seed store, Livingseeds in August of 2009. Livingseeds is unique in South Africa as we grow over 80% of the seed varieties ourselves on our own farm. South Africa has stringent seed importation laws, necessitating that we develop techniques that would ensure we could grow a large number of seed varieties in a very small area. Our farm in Africa is just over 80 acres in size with about 35 acres under intensive production in poly-tunnels, isolation cages and open fields
Over the years we have developed a number of proprietary techniques and systems to ensure that we keep our seed varieties pure from generation to generation. We will typically grow over 800 varieties of vegetable seed on our farm every year. Getting the timing and logistics right to ensure that only pure seed is produced is a major management task and we are very fortunate that we have a strong team of breeders and production staff to ensure that this happens in the correct sequence every season.
The Seedstead is the US affiliate company to Livingseeds that has been created specifically to bring our unique African seed varieties to the American home gardener. It is our desire to bring our unique seed and knowledge across the globe and into your homes.