Territorial Seed, which owns Abundant Life is closing this company. The Abundant Life products will be integrated into the Territorial catalog and will be serviced from Territorial Seed in the future.
Company Comment, posted on June 22, 2009:
To better serve our customers, our sister company, Territorial Seed Company, will be offering our favorite Abundant Life varieties in their 2013 catalog and online at http://www.territorialseed.com. The new 2013 Spring catalog will be available at the end of December
By combining our two product lines, customers will experience more efficient shopping, ordering, and shipping options, as well as a greater selection of Organic and Biodynamic varieties. At Territorial’s website, all of the Organic and Biodynamic varieties will be easy to access by clicking here or on the Organics tab on the orange navigation bar on the home page.
Territorial Seed Company will provide customer support on all previous Abundant Life Seeds’ orders. If you have an Abundant Life Seeds online account, you will need to create a new account with Territorial Seed Company. To create a new account, click here.
I've ordered products off and on from Territorial for 14 years--so the preceding review alleging it's connections with Monsanto was extremely disconcerting. Fortunately, I'm able to report that a minimal amount of investigation proved this allegation to be a lie.
"Territorial Seed Company is a privately held company, wholly owned by Tom and Julie Johns. Purchased in 1985 from its founder Steve Solomon, Tom and Julie have grown the business substantially over the past 24 years but have never strayed far from the original course set by Steve."
I do not feet the text in the catalog I just received from this company accurately reflects the truth. The reviews for Abundant Life Seed, those reviews dated prior to August 4, 2003 were for a "not for profit" company called Abundant Life Seed Foundation which sold according to their website "open pollinated, non-hybrid, untreated seed" which is not the case in the catalog I just received. There are many hybrids listed.
After the warehouse and office were lost to a fire in 2003, Abundant Life Seed Foundation did not offer a catalog in 2004 and subsequently became an advocacy organization. Territorial Seed Company began in 2004 a for profit sister company now called Abundant Life Seed (note only "foundation" is missing) also located not in Washington state but in Cottage Grove, Oregon, like Territorial Seeds.
These seem to me to be two entirely different companies and the new one seems to be trading on the name of the old one but not upholding its mission. Note here on this website when the negative comments began, after the 2003 fire.
Also the Territorial company has very few of the seed varieties offered by by the old Abundant Life Seed Foundation. For example, prior to 2004 the catalog offered more than 40 varieties of beans. In the catalog I just received there are only 12 and most of them are commercially available and for less money. Not one of the beans listed in the present catalog is truly rare.
Finally, and perhaps most important, I think it was the week before Christmas, on NPR a commentator was promoting Territorial Seed. A caller asked the commentator directly if commentator was aware that Territorial Seed was owned by Monsanto. The commentator was silent, then responded "I did not Know that. I will have to check into it." Many of us in the area have heard that Monsanto purchased Territorial some time ago and kept the owners on to manage, which could be a good business decision, part of the sale agreement or a way to keep up appearances or all of the above. If Monsanto owns Territorial Seed and Territorial is the parent of this new Abundant Life Seeds I feel like I am the bio diversity fly being courted by the bio engineered spider.
The cover of the catalog I just received says "Preserving rare and endangered seeds since 1975." This company started in 2004 more than a year after the fire wiped out the Port Townsend Abundant Life Seed Foundation's seed inventory. The present catalog does not represent the far wider diversity of the original, which can be viewed at VictorySeeds.com. Most of the seeds I saw in this catalog were also in the Territorial catalog. I haven't had time to verify they are all there, but I would say pretty close. I feel this is not a catalog devoted to "rare and endangered species" as the cover declares. And this is truly not the company started in 1975. While I recognize that companies have to grow and change, that is not what is happening here. It seems to me like a pretty purposeful and deliberate deception. For the purpose of saving rare and endangered, non hybridized seed I would not purchase from this catalog even though they have solicited my business by sending me one.Company representative comment on February 1, 2011: On Feb 1, 2011 12:14 PM, Abundant Life Seeds responded with:
I wanted to address some of your comments regarding Abundant Life Seeds and Territorial Seed Company. You are correct that Abundant Life Seed Foundation used to offer open-pollinated, non-hybrid, untreated seed. When Territorial Seed Company first took over the catalog portion of Abundant Life, we actually took it one step further and only offered certified organic or biodynamic, open-pollinated, untreated seed. Over the years, in an effort to offer a complete selection of organic/biodynamic vegetable choices we did make the decision to offer a few hybrids. In the 2011 catalog, however, 93% of the seed varieties that we offer are open-pollinated. All are certified organic, biodynamic, or sustainably grown, which was not the case prior to 2004.
After the warehouse fire in 2003, much of the seed inventory for the offerings in the Abundant Life catalog were lost or severely depleted. At that time, the staff of Abundant Life Seed Foundation decided to focus their attention on the educational component of the foundation and put the catalog component up for sale. Tom and Julie Johns, owners of Territorial Seed Company, thought that they would be in a good position to take over the catalog primarily because our certified organic farm entity of the business was in a position to revive a lot of the lost varieties due to our extensive seed crop productions.
Over the past several years, we have made quite a bit of the "pre-fire" varieties available to our customers again. These varieties very well could have disappeared otherwise. Please also keep in mind that this is not an easy task and takes time-especially when the stock seed that we had to start with could have been literally a handful of seeds that a customer was kind enough to send in.
Regarding your comments about Territorial being owned by Monsanto, I ask that you please check your facts prior to distributing false information that could be potentially damaging to a family-owned company that has worked quite hard to get where they are today. Territorial Seed Company is in NO WAY owned by Monsanto and is, and always has been a family owned/operated company.
As previously mentioned, we are continuing in our efforts to make varieties that used to be in the Abundant Life catalog prior to the warehouse fire available again, and we also continue to work on making the Abundant Life and Territorial catalogs unique from each other. There are actually quite a few differences in the offerings between the two catalogs.
Finally, I would like to note that we do respect your opinion. However, from our point of view, we stand behind our company and it's practices, and believe that we are in no way "deliberately deceiving" anyone.
Abundant Life Seeds/Territorial Seed Company
I've ordered for 2 years now and have had no problems.
JDProvence Denver City, TX (2 reviews) April 26, 2009
According to their catalog, and I quote: "Fast Customer Service, At Abundant Life, our goal is to ship orders within 3 business days. We will handle your order promptly and carefully. I placed an order for $48.00 worth of seeds and supplies, expecting prompt service as they promised. Where I live in West Texas, hot days come on fast so we have a small window of opportunity for getting seeds started before it's too late and seedlings burn up. I waited 2 weeks and heard nothing from them, except for the order confirmation I received when I placed the order. Sent and email and got no reply. Latest email I sent, demanding the order be canceled and refund issued. DO NOT TRUST THIS COMPANY to do as they say, their customer service is far below acceptable.
I ordered six small packs (and I do mean small packs - the seed count was skimpy) and was charged $7.95 for shipping -- I thought it was coming priority mail for that price. But it took 10 days to reach me and the postage was only $1 -- when I queried about this I was given a long list of menial tasks involved in filling an order to account for what worked out to the equivalent of $70/hour handling charge. Give me a break! They can't afford to wrap their handling into the price of the seeds because their seeds are some of, if not, THE most expensive on the internet, so they dupe their customers on the shipping. VERY dishonest and I won't be back.
I needed some very rare seeds and was planning to send to Europe for them (and pay a lot for s/h). Found a huge variety of seeds, including the ones I was seeking. Ordered. Shipped quick. Generous quantity. Great germination. Will definately look there again!
One of my faves. I don't order much from them, as I usually need bulk amounts that it's easier to get elsewhere (like from Fedco), but they've got interesting varieties I can't find elsewhere -- rare carrots, squash, peppers, herbs, etc....
Fast service, they're usually one of the first to get me my order back after I send out my batch of mail seed orders.
These folks put on a conference in Port Townsend that had small seed farmers from all over the western states and British Columbia. I went as an interested backyard seed saver - wow - I knew their seeds were good, but their non-profit work is so inspiring. Learned a lot about genetics, seed cleaning and storing, and had a great seed swap. This year's favorite from them is "Olga's Yugaslavian" snap bean. I'm near the Canadian border and it's doing great in my cool cloudy climate.
Though the on-line ordering process was a bit awkward, I placed my order and recieved my seeds in about 2 weeks. I have been having a blast planting and raising them. Germination has been VERY good, hardy plants I have already in April in Tennessee.
They do lack info on their seed packets, but it is available on-line. The back of the seed packet says "Peace be with you"...what's more peaceful than a prosperous care free garden :)
My mistake was ordering sampler packets rather than full size seed packets, so I have planted to thinning spacing and it seems to be working OK...but next year I will order the full size packets.
Abundant Life is Wonderful! They have seeds noone else has, and, in my personal experience they germinate and grow excellently. I had purple peas from the fifteenth century, Capucjiner Monks, and they were Something to see, Everyone said so. Lois Monahan's Candy Wax Beans have already grown better than all my tried and true varieties, here in South Florida. I have picked them four times and they are loaded with blossoms. And delicious. After seventeen years of organic gardening, this company rates high on my list of favorites. They have seeds worth growing, that are great for the home garden, and I donate to them because they support biological diversity, and are non-profit.
MikeD Liberal, OR (Zone 8b) (68 reviews) December 7, 2001
Abundant Life Seed Foundation is an organization dedicated to preserving heirloom varieties of seeds. They are a non-profit and worthy of support. I ordered several old varieties from them this past spring, all had good germination rates, and all were true to type.
willowpolson Groveland, CA (Zone 8b) (10 reviews) December 1, 2001
I too have had outstanding experiences with Abundant Life. Their staff is very knowledgeable and friendly, their catalog features native plants and heirloom/OP varieties I can find nowhere else, and they do community programs on top of everything else. Highly recommended!
I ordered all my seed for my spring planting from Abundant Life and they ROCK!!! Customer service is superb, with friendly and knowledgeable folk answering the phone, prices are excellent, delivery time is almost overnight, selection is HUGE and everything is open-pollinated so I can save my seeds. Much of their seed is grown organically or is sustainably farmed. I plan to donate seed back to them after I harvest. I don't work for this company, I just love them!
I was very happy with my order placed with abundant life, good quality seeds, prompt service, and it was exactly what I ordered - everything you wish for in a mail order company. Please give them a chance, our plant's genetic diversity are being lost when we choose to grow hybrids in favor of open-pollinated seeds! You get a nice size packet of seeds for a fair price and do your part in keeping the heirlooms alive. I am a seasonal nursery grower; I have a greenhouse business called The Pansy Patch. Some of my highest demanded seedlings were grown by seed from the Abundant Life Company, and the next generations that grew from original seed was true to color.
Fantastic outfit dedicated to collection and dissemination of wild-harvested seeds from a membership group. Seeds are reasonably priced, service is good. The profits from their efforts fund several projects to help keep alive threatened species through direct intervention by a network of concerned gardeners.