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Heirloom Vegetables: Letter from Kent Whealy to all listed members of SSE

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zebraman
Venice, CA
(Zone 10a)

January 17, 2008
5:35 PM

Post #4415349

I received this letter (dated Jan.11,2008) from Kent Whealy who started the Seed Savers Exchange. He sent this to all listed members and asked that it be shared with non listers and others.
http://www.mustangmods.com/ims/u/1016/1377/217012.pdf

I am also a regular poster on the SSE forum and I posted regarding this a few nights ago. It was removed Instantly by the moderators.

jenhillphoto

jenhillphoto
Danbury, CT
(Zone 6a)

January 18, 2008
1:55 PM

Post #4419625

I'm not a memeber of SSE, but I do order seeds from their online catalog. So I read that letter you posted. Sounds pretty terrible. I'm wondering what is the new agenda. To take a man's life's work is cruel.
BronxBoy
Lawrenceville, GA
(Zone 7b)

January 18, 2008
2:01 PM

Post #4419642

Is there a back story to this.

Joining SSE is on my to-do list for this year. Is the organization headed down a dark road?

BB

jenhillphoto

jenhillphoto
Danbury, CT
(Zone 6a)

January 18, 2008
2:09 PM

Post #4419672

We'll probably never know. I know there's two sides to every story, sometimes even more than that. I guess I'll leave it be and chalk it up to everything changes and nothing stays the same.
amideutch
Albersbach
Germany

January 18, 2008
7:58 PM

Post #4421392

Heres the latest reply concerning the SSE situation.
As an SSE employee who chose to work there because of its mission, and its status as a non-profit, I can with 100% honesty tell you that what was said in the Board's letter is true. If anything, we are working to return more of the focus to SSE's membership base, which as many of you who are members know has been somewhat neglected and declining in previous years.

SSE's Board Members are volunteers, they work with no compensation at all - so all these posts I've been reading on various forums about how money is the factor, or how the Board Members are going to reward themselves richly is simply not true.

I know it's impossible to convince everyone. If you have concerns, please address it in a civil manner. The staff at SSE has been on the receiving end of quite a lot this past week and there is not one among us that would do anything to hurt SSE.

Steph Hughes
Seed Savers Exchange

This message was edited Jan 19, 2008 8:37 AM
zebraman
Venice, CA
(Zone 10a)

January 19, 2008
12:04 AM

Post #4422318

Hey Guys; besides writing letters to the board at SSE (calling is a waste of time) and demanding that the current board step down and also boycotting "Johnny's Seeds and Amy Goldman's books.
David_Paul
Clinton, CT
(Zone 6b)

January 19, 2008
11:56 PM

Post #4426552

I first heard of SSE a year ago last Christmas. Too late to join to get the regular catalog so I joined the flower exchange. I know no one involved in the current to-do. However I had decided a while ago not to join SSE because I just got a feeling there was a little too much self-promotion going on (not on the part of Kent Whealy. Until this week I didn't even know who he was although I vaguely recall hearing the name).

Also had a problem with the prices. I would have in 2007 and will this year,grow over 50 OP cultivars. Didn't understand from the start why, if preserving genetic diversity was the goal, SSE didn't put together packages of a wide assortment of seeds at a reduced cost. I'll pay $50 for 25 or 30 cultivars, ten seeds in a pack. Or 60 or 70 for $100. Won't even have to think of about. But I'm not about to order much (now none at all) for what SSE wants per package. I'll trade with others and deal with smaller outfits.

paracelsus
Elmira, NY
(Zone 6a)

January 20, 2008
6:11 AM

Post #4427862

Don't you think it's the least bit funny that this open letter from this fellow does not mention any reason that he was canned AT ALL? What, someone just woke up in an angry mood and decided to get rid of him out of sheer spite? He talks about the way corporations are run. Well, that's not the way. And wake up, buddy, Amy Goldman does not need SSE to publish books. Geez. Talk about your inflated ego.

I notice he mentions the cattle several times in this letter and apparently they were a pet project of his. I have to say I could not understand what cattle have to do with seed saving, even if they are some heritage type. It seems he was pouring a lot of the SSE's money into the display farm and heirloom cattle instead of into the seed end of things.

This guy sounds like a kook to me, and frankly, he is doing plenty to muddy up the name of the SSE. Apparently that is his intention. So if his letter was meant to drum up sympathy for him, I have to say I don't have any for him.
claypa
West Pottsgrove, PA
(Zone 6b)

January 20, 2008
6:20 AM

Post #4427876

Kent Whealy founded the Seed Savers Exchange
paracelsus
Elmira, NY
(Zone 6a)

January 20, 2008
7:16 AM

Post #4427931

I know that. Apparently, he came to the conclusion that all its money should be available to him to do with as he pleased. The co-founder of SSE disagreed with that. So did everyone else on the board. So he got canned, and now here he is crying about how he has been persecuted by these corporate types that apparently include the co-founder and how evil things are happening at SSE. What a lot of hogwash.
amideutch
Albersbach
Germany

January 20, 2008
7:55 AM

Post #4427942

Sad as it may be I think there may be a ring of truth as to what paracelsus says. Maybe Kent did go astray with his new projects and was getting away from what SSE is all about, (SEED SAVING). Unfortunately we can only speculate at this point and that is all it is, SPECULATION. So we will have to sit back and wait for this thing to unfold. Till then I will continue to give my support to SSE untill I get a definitive answer as to what really happened. Ami
David_Paul
Clinton, CT
(Zone 6b)

January 20, 2008
8:06 AM

Post #4427948

Interesting comment amideutch. Very similiar to what I've seen in other situations.
amideutch
Albersbach
Germany

January 20, 2008
2:06 PM

Post #4428204

New update from GW.
Posted by gcdouglass z7 MD (My Page) on Sun, Jan 20, 08 at 7:54

I believe the board has provided some valuable information. I have asked the following questions and have receive responses for most:

(1) Response on why Kent was removed if possible.
This seems to go back several years and all the details may never be known. This could be a soap opera. I respect the fact that due to personal or personnel issues all these details may not be available to the public.

(2)A statement that the Board of Advisors will be retained with its current membership
The board has indicated that it intends to maintain the Board of Advisors

(3) Annual Report will continue to be available either through your web site, in a SSE publication or by request through SSE,
They will publish SSE's financial statements in the annual Summer Editions as always

(4) That the endowment to maintain SSE's seed collection be established
No specific mention on that yet, but since the mission of the organization has not changed hopefully this should continue to move forward.

(5) Statement that SSE's core mission will not change from preserving genetic diversity, seed exchanging and making these varieties available to its members.
They have several time reinforced that SSE’s mission and vision has not changed

(6) What is SSE’s governance structure?
This has not changed even with the bylaw changes. We did not have governance before and do not have it now. Personally I feel even though adding governance would add expenses to membership that governance should be provided to members. Members established that valuable seed collection that exists and should have direct say on how it is used.

(7) What committees have been formed since March 2007?
SSE has six committees, in which SSE staff members, SSE Board of Advisors members, and SSE Board Members participate:
Seed Collection Committee
Publications Committee (SSE's publications include membership publications as well as books and a catalog)
Audit & Finance Committee
Personnel Committee
Board Development Committee
Executive Search Committee (ad hoc)
All seem legitimate to me.

(8)Why was the membership bylaw changed?

I believe the response to this is that Iowa non-profit law changed.
My brief research seems to indicate this language change although it seems dramatic, actually changed our member status very little, if at all.

To quote Iowa’s code: "Member" means a person who on more than one occasion, pursuant to the provisions of a corporation's articles or bylaws, has a right to vote for the election of a director or directors of a corporation, irrespective of how a member is defined in the articles or bylaws of the corporation.

We did not have governance before and do not have it now. This change may have the impression that our status or rights have been compromised when in fact they have not been. We never had governance. How that comes as a surprise to me even though I never received a voting form in the past give is alarming. I believe we always should have had governance and this issue just has opened my eyes to that.

Iowa code still allows SSE to have membership and refer to us as members even though we are not members in the by-laws. This was the essentially the case before since we did not have governance and is the case today.

(9) I also feel that an at-large member from a listed member that is not a major donor should be added to the board.
This has not yet been addressed. A board’s widespread support requires a diverse board, including representation from groups the organization directly serves. (http://www.sos.state.ia.us/pdfs/Nonprofits/IAPP4CNE.pdf) I believe this should be examined as "members" who actually do the seed sharing should have an at large board member to represent our concerns, needs and wants for the organization.

Hopefully the board will eventually fully answer my questions (4,8,9), but I feel they have answered many already.

Two asides:

Upon further research I believe SSE has always been a public benefit corporation even though members may of considered it more of a mutual benefit corporation when it concerned seed sharing.

The board has a Fiduciary Duty. Although its actions may be unpopular nothing in its responses has indicated to me that they are not fulfilling this fiduciary duty.
dave

January 20, 2008
4:48 PM

Post #4428795

http://davesgarden.com/community/forums/t/805814/
paracelsus
Elmira, NY
(Zone 6a)

January 20, 2008
7:09 PM

Post #4429342

Yes, let us hear some other sides.

Here's the response from Diane Ottley, the co-founder of SSE:

http://seedsavers.forumco.com/topic~TOPIC_ID~111.asp

Here's the SSE Advisors' response:

http://seedsavers.forumco.com/topic~TOPIC_ID~120.asp

Here's the response from the SSE Board of Directors:

http://seedsavers.forumco.com/topic~TOPIC_ID~108.asp

I too hope that this does not muck up the image of SSE. I have been a member on and off over the years and have always been inspired by their seed list and by the efforts of all the many, many people who have gone to great trouble to grow out and save seed and share them with total strangers for the sheer love of gardening and preserving our plant past. I have been champing at the bit to get the veggie seed list this year, even though I long ago chose all my veggie seeds for 2008. There is always room for a few more.
BronxBoy
Lawrenceville, GA
(Zone 7b)

January 21, 2008
6:34 PM

Post #4433534

It deosn't seem like this mess is tied to any financial misdoings so I'll still support them.

Better them than our good buddies at Monsanto!

BB

melody

melody
Benton, KY
(Zone 7a)


January 21, 2008
8:03 PM

Post #4433900

As I stated in another post, I've crossed paths with a few of the people who signed some of these letters. Their devotion to SSE is unquestioned by me. Until proven otherwise, I will continue to support SSE.

It's sad that things have come to this, and there's lots of hurt feelings on both sides.

Kent is not a kook. That's why this is so hard. He and Diane had a vision, and SSE grew to what it is today with their hard work, sweat and sacrifice. Let no one take that lightly.

There's obviously more to the story than we're getting from both sides, we will never have the entire thing. Sometimes things need to change, but I feel sad for all involved. Speculation will simply fuel rumors, and serves no purpose.

I have renewed my membership, and am eagerly awaiting my 2008 Yearbook. I will place an order from the retail catalog as I do every year. Don't be afraid to order from the catalog if you were going to do so. SSE retail seeds are great seeds. a wonderful way to get started with heirlooms.



David_Paul
Clinton, CT
(Zone 6b)

January 22, 2008
2:41 AM

Post #4435919

melody...as I mentioned, I'm new to this and had never heard of Kent until last year. I agree, he is not a "kook". Nor is he one for self-aggrandizement (if he were, I would have heard of him). Detected a few whiffs that he is going to be depicted as one or the other. That tactic is so classic if it is used against him, I'll have no doubt who is wearing the black hats.
paracelsus
Elmira, NY
(Zone 6a)

January 22, 2008
2:07 PM

Post #4437834

There are no black hats here. That is exactly what is wrong with Mr. Whealey's letter-that he tries to make out that there are. And that is what makes him sound like a kook, IMO.

The same sort of idiotic us/them stuff came up with the Heronswood thing, like George Ball was the devil incarnate for buying that company, like he held the owners at gunpoint and forced him to pay them millions of dollars. There was no black/white there either, and generally that is not how reality is. Look what happened here in response to this idiot letter--right away someone says "Let's boycott Johnny's," etc. Stop and think instead of acting like a mob.
dave

January 22, 2008
3:13 PM

Post #4438085

Quoting:Stop and think instead of acting like a mob.


That's some of the best advice ever shared in the history of DG. If every person on earth took this advice, our world would transform for the better overnight.
zebraman
Venice, CA
(Zone 10a)

January 22, 2008
9:07 PM

Post #4439438

Hey Guys; For the record I have never ordered from Johnny's Seeds. However now that he is on the board at SSE, I am now receiving Johnny's catalog. This tells me they are using my information from SSE.They won't be getting an order from me.
GrammysGardenAZ
Cochise, AZ
(Zone 8b)

January 23, 2008
12:03 AM

Post #4440163

I truly do not think that SSE has shared their list with any of the for profit companies. Johnny's employees are buying the company and work hard. I will continue to support them.
amideutch
Albersbach
Germany

January 24, 2008
6:33 PM

Post #4447877

zman we went through this crap with another seed vendor at a different forum you are no longer a member of. Don't start it here with Johnny's. Unless you have proof then zip it.
zebraman
Venice, CA
(Zone 10a)

January 24, 2008
8:07 PM

Post #4448267

Hey Amideutch; I have no idea who you are? Also all of the websites that I have ever posted on I am still a member of, just don't post. You obviously post with different names on different sites. I don't.
I stated that I have never ordered from them so they got my address from somewhere.And being they are now on the board at SSE, its pretty obvious. Your vitriolic response clearly states you cannot handle someone having a different opinion than yours.( In the future I would suggest that you not read my posts.) This is a NO Brainer!
I have spoken to quite a lot of fellow listed SSE members via email and it seems that I won't be the only person boycotting Johnny's Selected Seeds.
paracelsus
Elmira, NY
(Zone 6a)

January 24, 2008
11:08 PM

Post #4449029

"And being they are now on the board at SSE, its pretty obvious."

Uh, no, it's not obvious at all. It's in fact a logical fallacy to conclude that two events that happen one after the other are in fact cause and effect. This is what I mean about not thinking.

I've been gardening from 25 years and I get all kinds of catalogs and mailings I never signed up for. It doesn't mean anything at all. If you personally don't like something you get in the mail, you can compost it. It's mail, not a conspiracy.

It looks to me like you are determined to trash Johnny's and SSE. Well, I can tell you that what you are saying here doesn't make them look bad. Quite the contrary.
BronxBoy
Lawrenceville, GA
(Zone 7b)

January 24, 2008
11:45 PM

Post #4449173

Personally, I don't think it's cool to come here and suggest boycotting anyone. Not from what I've read. This seems like it's a family squabble and while you cringe at what's going on, you don't want to take sides because, well you like all the parties involved.

I have done business with Johnny's and they have been nothing but an excellent supplier. Same with SSE.

And the telling thing about Mr Wheatley's letter was that he was very adamant about continuing to support SSE and not to withhold any financial support. Nor did he say to boycott any of the Board members.

I look at this just like a nasty divorce in which I like both the husband and the wife. So I'll let it run it's course but continue to support the kids. :-)

BB
Tir_Na_Nog
Houston
United States
(Zone 9b)

January 24, 2008
11:55 PM

Post #4449211

Please, I've tried to read this thread as I came across it tonight but I'm not familiar with the "issues". What is this post referring to??? http://davesgarden.com/community/forums/p.php?pid=4422318

Because I have ordered from Johnny Seeds in the past.

I did notice in their recent catalog something about becoming employee owned but didn't understand all the business on that either.

If you can enlighten me I'd appreciate it.

melody

melody
Benton, KY
(Zone 7a)


January 25, 2008
1:56 AM

Post #4449867

There's nothing wrong with ordering from Johnny's. They are a good company, and the suggestion that they are somehow involved with the SSE blow-up is rumor at best.

I'd have absolutely no problems with giving them my business.
Tir_Na_Nog
Houston
United States
(Zone 9b)

January 25, 2008
2:02 AM

Post #4449898

Thank-you Melody, means a lot coming from an "admin" :).

melody

melody
Benton, KY
(Zone 7a)


January 25, 2008
2:10 AM

Post #4449932

It's just a sad situation that SSE is in at the moment, and like Bronx Boy said, the problems are personal. I see no reason to drag speculation and rumor into this when none of us have access to the true facts.

SSE will continue. It had two founders, and one is still there. I believe in Diane's vision, and Kent does too, as he pleads for folks not to pull their support.

I get a Johnny's catalog every year, and have never ordered from them. Been getting a Johnny's catalog longer than I've been an SSE member. They're a good company, I've just not had the need for their services.
zebraman
Venice, CA
(Zone 10a)

January 25, 2008
2:56 AM

Post #4450307

Hey Tir_Na_Nog ; Amy Goldman and Rob Johnston (Johnny's Seeds are on the board at Seed Savers Exchange that recently fired Kent Whealy from the SSE. I have never received a catalog from this company (Johnny's Select Seeds, until now.) I have spoken to quite a few listed members who have also stated that they received catalogs from Johnny's but also didn't order and didn't request said catalog.To me this says Johnny's is taking advantage of mailing lists from SSE. And that is why I won't be buying from them.
Tir_Na_Nog
Houston
United States
(Zone 9b)

January 25, 2008
2:59 AM

Post #4450333

I don't so much mind the mailing lists. I manage to get on everyone else's :0!!!! But yes, realizing you DIDN'T request a catalog and are getting them can be annoying. Not to mention not good for the garden! Imagine how much cheaper products could be if people didn't just send out all the mailers/catalogs/offers announcing their product? Then again, perhaps enough business generated it must pay for it and then some!

So far I've actually enjoyed their goods, timely shipping and continually growing product line.
amideutch
Albersbach
Germany

January 25, 2008
6:59 PM

Post #4453000

zman, does "IDig" ring a bell. You are absolutely correct about being a no brainer, especially when you are the subject of the conversation. Johnny's seed is a fine company with an excellent reputation and we don't need your irresponsible comments towards that end. I'm sure they won't miss your order.
Mischka
Webster, MA
(Zone 6a)

January 25, 2008
7:46 PM

Post #4453215

Zebraman, please check your facts before posting such a baseless assumption. SSE does not share their mailing list, period.

Here's proof.

I think you owe them a public apology.

Thumbnail by Mischka
Click the image for an enlarged view.

melody

melody
Benton, KY
(Zone 7a)


January 25, 2008
8:22 PM

Post #4453346

Thanks Mischka!
Dann_L
San Tan Valley, AZ
(Zone 9b)

January 25, 2008
9:02 PM

Post #4453485

I am not an SSE member nor have I ever ordered anything from them or Johnny's Seeds. I maintain a positively neutral position on this issue and have been following it only as a casual observer.

So I only wish to make the observation that, although it is the documented policy of SSE to protect the membership information, that does not necessarily stop an unscrupulous person within SSE (or a hacker) from stealing that information and making it available through other sources.
I'm not saying that's what happened, but only that it is a possibility.

melody

melody
Benton, KY
(Zone 7a)


January 25, 2008
9:30 PM

Post #4453578

That situation is always a possibility, regardless if you belong to a seed saving organization or a class reunion site...or whatever. But SSE didn't purposefully share or sell information.

You raise a valid point, that in this day and age, it's not out of the realm of reason. But as Mischka pointed out so well, member's personal info is something that SSE takes seriously. That there is some underhanded conspiracy to use our info to the benefit of Johnny's isn't hardly feasible.

Johnny's offers some OP and heirloom seeds, but there's a huge selection of hybrids. They are of no use to dedicated seed savers. Listed SSE members are not casual growers, and don't shop commercial sources in great numbers. Sending them Johnny's catalogs would result in a small amount of business, but the cost to do so would be far greater...as Johnny's well knows.

From a business standpoint, I would target some other group of gardeners with unsolicited catalogs. The pay off would be better.
Dann_L
San Tan Valley, AZ
(Zone 9b)

January 25, 2008
9:55 PM

Post #4453671

I think that eveyone has had ample opportunity to express themselves on this subject and it's time to put it to rest. Most of what I have read in these posts is based primarliy on what that person choose's to believe as the truth but it appears that there is little unbiased 1st hand knowledge of the true facts. In other words it is inference based on incomplete or inconclusive evidence and it's time to let the legal community sort this out in a venue that does not include Dave's Garden.

And thats my opinion.

melody

melody
Benton, KY
(Zone 7a)


January 25, 2008
9:56 PM

Post #4453677

Amen!
zebraman
Venice, CA
(Zone 10a)

January 25, 2008
10:32 PM

Post #4453847

Hey Amideutch; I am still a member at Idig and I just checked in the "Members" and there is No listing for Amideutch. So my point about you hiding who you are online at different sites is true. If Johnny's hadn't wanted my business they wouldn't have sent a catalog.
Oh and I still boycott seed companies that sell Siminis seeds.
Dann_L
San Tan Valley, AZ
(Zone 9b)

January 25, 2008
10:41 PM

Post #4453888

This is not the proper place for this!

If you 2 wish to continue this OT bickering, please spare the rest of us and have the courtesy to do it in the privacy of dmail.

melody

melody
Benton, KY
(Zone 7a)


January 25, 2008
10:47 PM

Post #4453915

This thread has digressed into personal opinions, and old wars not started on DG.

Personal opinions are fine as long as they are kept civil, but there are feuds started on other websites that are of no use to the members of DG.

Everyone is welcome here regardless of their reputation, as long as they behave themselves, and leave old baggage at the door. But they must respect our members who have no idea what the problem is, or where it started.

Let's keep it civil, and leave the personal stuff personal. If you can't, take it someplace else.
Dann_L
San Tan Valley, AZ
(Zone 9b)

January 25, 2008
10:50 PM

Post #4453926

Thanks Melody.
zebraman
Venice, CA
(Zone 10a)

January 25, 2008
11:10 PM

Post #4453991

Hey Melody; above you stated ..."but there's a huge selection of hybrids. They are of no use to dedicated seed savers. Listed SSE members are not casual growers, and don't shop commercial sources in great numbers."
In the 2007 Yearbook there are quite a lot of SSE listed members offering de-hybridized hybrids. And also SSE members here are just as into hybrids as non,especially in the Tomato boards.
I did call Johnny's Seeds and asked to be removed from their mailing list as I never buy from companies that send unsolicited offers.

Terry

Terry
Murfreesboro, TN
(Zone 7a)


January 26, 2008
1:45 AM

Post #4454536

I'll reiterate Dave's warning above: http://davesgarden.com/community/forums/t/805814/

This thread was started to discuss the known facts about a specific topic. There is to be no more rumor-mongering or mudslinging any other company or individuals. Personal disputes should remain just that - personal (offline) disputes.

If that isn't a clear enough directive for anyone, you're welcome to use the Contact Us link at the bottom of any page of our site for more clarification.
yotedog
Raleigh, NC

January 29, 2008
1:05 AM

Post #4466841

THANK YOU TERRY!!

Please, people, leave this one alone...we'll never know the whole story. And guess what, ITS NOT OUR BUSINESS, that's why they aren't telling us anymore details. SSE has aired their views, and Kent has aired his. Done Deal. If you like SSE, their seeds, and business practices-- support them. If you disagree, go elsewhere. We are all entitled to our views, but others don't have to share them.

I
iowabeauty
Decorah,Iowa
United States

January 30, 2008
8:13 AM

Post #4472498

It is indeed difficult to make any judgment without facts, and unfortunately neither Kent Whealy's letter, nor the responses from the board, give enough information to form a final judgment. A few things are clear, however:

First, Mr Whealy's diversion about the changes in SSE's bylaws are misleading at best. SSE "members" have never had voting rights in the non-profit's governance. SSE management could, and occasionally did, ask members their thoughts on things like prices in the yearbook, but at no time in the organization's history did "members" vote for the SSE board, or on changes to the mission statement, or on major initiatives. The fact that the board is not elected means that under Iowa law they are not "members" and that's what the bylaw changes clarify.

Second, Mr. Whealy's dismissal was the unanimous decision of the SSE board of directors, and has been endorsed by a majority of its board of advisers. That's 5 highly successful entrepreneurs, professionals and philanthropists with in-depth knowledge or the organization, plus 10 or so dedicated volunteer experts who agree that Mr. Whealy had to go. As someone who lives just down the road from the SSE farm in Iowa, and who personally knows many of those who work there, I can vouch that all of the senior staff, and a likely majority of the other 30 or so people who work there also consider the move necessary. That's an enormously convincing collective judgment to my way of thinking.

Third, neither the mission, nor programs of Seed Savers are changed by Mr. Whealy's departure. The mission is part of the non-profit status grant by the IRS, and has been re-affirmed by the board. Furthermore, the senior managers at SSE, who are responsible for the horticultural activities, the seed catalog, and the public outreach programs, all remain. Functionally and philosophical, SSE retains a high degree of continuity through his departure.

I'm pretty sure we can safely withhold final judgment, while we wait to see how the SSE board guides the organization from here.
David_Paul
Clinton, CT
(Zone 6b)

February 2, 2008
5:18 PM

Post #4486505

I ordered from SSE in 2006 and joined the Flower and Herb Exchange (FHE) in Jan of 2007.

Last week I placed an order online with Johnny's and had to ask for a catalog.

I must have ordered from a dozen seed, bulb and gardening supply companies aside from Seed Savers Exchange in the last two years. No one, apparently, shared my address with Johnny's.
CompostR
south central, PA
(Zone 6b)

February 4, 2008
8:46 PM

Post #4495307

Mr. Whealy's letter had a "ring of truth" until I got to the end. Isn't publishing his rivals' home addresses and phones, etc. and asking people to almost harass them kind of a turn-off ? On the other hand, I have worked for many non-profits and the tension between the original "mission" and becoming a large, monied operation is tremendous and ongoing - so I can perhaps understand the conflict in which he was embroiled.

When I received their annual report (and, honestly, I can't remember the exact content) I disagreed with the direction of the articles which I found off-point, strange, and misguided. But, the seed exchange catalog is wonderful and their mission of saving heirloom seeds is important. It's a little suspicious to me that their seed ordering catalog is so slick. You'd think a non-profit would have a humbler look. But, it's that pressure to be a big fancy organization I guess.

Unfortunately, I have also ordered several times from their seed ordering catalog but not one seed ever sprouted !

This message was edited Feb 4, 2008 3:48 PM
paracelsus
Elmira, NY
(Zone 6a)

February 5, 2008
2:34 PM

Post #4497929

I've ordered from their catalog for several years and haven't had any problems with their seed sprouting. I think their catalog is quite beautiful. Their seeds are relatively high priced. I believe those prices support that catalog.
gloria125
Greensboro, AL

March 7, 2009
1:47 PM

Post #6232977

To the participants of this thread:

I just want to thank everyone for their civil contribution in this matter. Seed Savers is so important to gardeners. In the future this thread will stand as one sane discussion of our concern and the ability of people to have a discussion without turning into a mob! And thanks to Melody and Dave for not deleting the thread.
DBower
Vancouver, WA

March 7, 2009
6:24 PM

Post #6234100

There seem to be way to many inner politics in non-profits (I say that as an employee of a non-profit). That being said I have seen some hostile take overs in my time where dozens of employees were fired because they didn't "get along" with management - of course on paper their termination states other reasons which are quite silly. Sounds like what might have been in play here. Gives a bad name to all parties involved. :(
gloria125
Greensboro, AL

March 7, 2009
9:58 PM

Post #6234826

Yes. I have seen that also. Some people like to take over those organizations and run everything and everybody in it.
docgipe
NORTH CENTRAL, PA
(Zone 5a)

March 10, 2009
3:35 PM

Post #6247047

Fifty years ago the powers that be in Chicago literally took over the Boy Scouts of America in strong arm Chicago organization. Talk about tramping on the apple pie. It got horrible and caused me to leave the profession clear down country in Va. Beach.

melody

melody
Benton, KY
(Zone 7a)


March 10, 2009
3:52 PM

Post #6247126

As an SSE member, I have an idea as to what happened, but will not go into any details. Just be reassured that SSE has the best interest of the members and the organization at heart.

There is no sense speculating about things that we are not privy to.

SSE remains with the same goals and policies as they ever had.
feldon30
Houston, TX
(Zone 9a)

March 10, 2009
4:53 PM

Post #6247396

Why are we dredging up a year+ old thread?

The followup posts seem to be "I don't know anything about SSE, but I've seen other non-profits go down the drain when management changed so that must be what's happening here". This is the equivalent of saying "I don't trust any charities" because they look at a few that are corrupt or eat up 40% of the donations on administrative costs and salaries. Let's not draw comparisons without actual fact.

While I found Kent's first 2 letters to be stirring and emotionally powerful, his third letter seemed both ill timed and lacking in value -- in short I was not nearly as impressed. It had a lot of alarmist supposition about the Svalbard seed bank which have been more than adequately addressed and debunked by Svalbard and outside observers as well. Do I think Mr. Whealy should get his papers and computer back? Probably, at least in some form. It is his 20 year legacy after all.

But as for the SSE itself, so far I am satisfied with the changes I've seen so far. In some ways, which I have commented about elsewhere, it is obvious to me that the organization has been held back and prevented from moving forward with opportunities to meet its charter -- preserving and distributing seeds and genetic heritage. The impression I got is that Kent lost interest in the yearbook years ago and that is why it has not kept up with the times.

melody

melody
Benton, KY
(Zone 7a)


March 10, 2009
5:09 PM

Post #6247461

Agreed.
docgipe
NORTH CENTRAL, PA
(Zone 5a)

March 10, 2009
6:16 PM

Post #6247736

The man on top only has one way to go in a rumble. This is a rumble and for my two cents I think it should be administered off this site. Cripes...even Humpty Dumpty had a great problem when he fell.

melody

melody
Benton, KY
(Zone 7a)


March 10, 2009
6:17 PM

Post #6247745

Then let us put this conversation to rest. There is nothing new to add.
gloria125
Greensboro, AL

March 10, 2009
6:37 PM

Post #6247813

Quoted: feldon30. Why are we dredging up a year+ old thread?

Answer: I did a Google search for Kent Whealy/Seed Savers and found this thread as a result. Did not know K.W. was not still with Seed Savers. Very often on DG these threads that "discuss" are deleted. Im glad this one was not since it contains important information - important information no matter how much time has elapsed since the thread was originally posted.


texasrockgarden
Canyon Lake, TX
(Zone 8b)

March 11, 2009
1:34 AM

Post #6249663

I just read this thread several days ago and was glad it came back to the top of this forum. I was a member of SSE when it first started and so were my parents. At the time we enjoyed growing some veggies that were old, lost or just forgotten.

Because my wife is a Native America we took an interest in some of early beans and corn/maize. SSE was the only place where we could get those seeds.

I've been away from garden for 10 or so years until this year. It was good to learn a little about what is and has gone on over their with that organization.

I for one am glad this thread has not been deleted.

Jerry

melody

melody
Benton, KY
(Zone 7a)


March 11, 2009
1:38 AM

Post #6249683

As long as the discussion remains a discussion, we'll let it stand, however there is no new information that is relevant at this time, and speculation does no one any good.
feldon30
Houston, TX
(Zone 9a)

March 11, 2009
1:38 AM

Post #6249685

Kent has written 3 letters and there have been official responses from SSE to two of them.
David_Paul
Clinton, CT
(Zone 6b)

March 11, 2009
4:39 AM

Post #6250352

I didn't need to read any letters. Soon as I saw the publishing industry in New York take sides, I knew what side I was on.
gloria125
Greensboro, AL

March 11, 2009
12:38 PM

Post #6250916

In the end the only "side" there is, is the preservation of the integrity of the genetic heritage of seeds - that is a current issue.

Terry

Terry
Murfreesboro, TN
(Zone 7a)


March 11, 2009
4:48 PM

Post #6251824

If we're in agreement that this subject is important enough to be kept, but an old issue to which there really isn't anything new to add (that would be beneficial or helpful), then how about we close it to any more comments? (Kinda like picking at a scab...the longer we pick, the more likely it is we will eventually draw blood.)
texasrockgarden
Canyon Lake, TX
(Zone 8b)

March 11, 2009
6:03 PM

Post #6252155

I was wondering if you would be open to cleaning up this thread a bit and closing it.

How would it be brought back to the top of the forum for new readers?

Terry

Terry
Murfreesboro, TN
(Zone 7a)


March 11, 2009
10:33 PM

Post #6253215

It wouldn't be. That's the downside of locking it. But it does prevent us from running it off into a ditch, where the only remedy is to pull the whole thread. (We don't go through and perform surgery on a thread very often...it's a tedious, manual process and often leaves a bad aftertaste of censorship.
paracelsus
Elmira, NY
(Zone 6a)

March 12, 2009
1:09 AM

Post #6253914

Personally, I wish you would lock it. Every time I see it turn up again, I remember all the rancor that came out in it. IMO, this thread should be allowed to die.

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