The Community Science ADAPT program is a fun and exciting way to get involved in Seed Savers Exchange’s mission of preserving and sharing our food crop heritage. Participants in this program trial varieties from the Seed Savers Exchange collection and submit feedback on their performance. This information helps us better understand the adaptability of these varieties to different regions and environments and guides our selection process for new introductions into our seed catalog.
In early January each year, we release details on the trials we’re offering for the upcoming growing season. Participants select the crop(s) they want to trial and are then randomly assigned three varieties from each trial. In the first week of March, we send out kits to participants containing seeds, plant labels, a field datasheet, and instructions for submitting data. Participants grow the three varieties from each trial side-by-side in their garden. We do not require a minimum number of plants. Participants evaluate each variety on a handful of key characteristics, including yield, flavor, earliness, appearance, and disease resistance. Data is submitted via a web platform called SeedLinked, which also allows users to upload photos, view variety profiles, analyze results, and connect with others in the trials.
The performance data on the varieties is valuable in helping Seed Savers Exchange determine which varieties from the collection to make commercially available to gardeners and farmers through its annual seed catalog. Participants enjoy the opportunity to discover unique heirloom varieties that are not yet commercially available and help shape the future of the Seed Savers Exchange catalog.