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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.
On Jan 12, 2011, Abundant Life Seeds responded with:
"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
On Apr 26, 2009, JDProvence Denver City, TX wrote:
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.
On Dec 17, 2008, PhillipsGuide Warrenton, NC wrote:
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.