Seeds are a hot topic at Arcadia Farms these days. We just wrapped up an heirloom seed giveaway this past week. The week before that I shared a Seed Starting Spreadsheet
with you that can help you determine when to plant seeds and
approximately when your harvest will be ready. That same week I also
shared a list of seed sources
with you. It wasn’t until after I created that list of seed sources
that I realized I had forgotten someone! I want to share information
with you about a new heirloom seed company founded by some of our family
friends. But first a little background…
Around the time I left my full-time job to become a suburban farmer, an article
came out that discussed a movement of young people (20’s and 30’s)
flocking to farming. The article cites several reasons why young
entrepreneurs are turning to agriculture rather than corporate jobs.
Some of the major reasons include the stifling nature of corporate
America, a strong demand for local and organic foods, the opportunity to
be self-employed and the intangible rewards of doing work you love. The
article is endearing to me because I am part of that movement of
entrepreneurs who’ve (passionately!) traded desks for dirt.
The Urban Farm Heirloom Seed Company Story
Jarrod and Kendra Tishhouse are part of that movement as well as co-founders of Urban Farm Heirloom Seed Company
(located in Lancaster County, PA). I recently had an opportunity ask
Jarrod some questions about Urban Farm HSC. If you’re interested in
supporting creative entrepreneurs who are investing in the future of
sustainable agriculture, you’ll want to read on to hear their story!
Q: What inspired you to start Urban Farm Heirloom Seed Company?
A: Kendra (my wife) and I really feel
called to sustainable living and we feel that one way to preserve
sustainable living is in the preservation of heirloom seeds
(non-hybridized non-genetically modified varieties of seeds that produce
true-to-form generation after generation). In light of big agriculture
and chemical companies stream-lining “perfect” tasteless vegetables, we
want to make sure that people continue to have access to heirloom
varieties of seeds, and also invest in their food future!
Q: Please share a little bit about how
Kickstarter played a role in the startup of your company. [Kickstarter
is a funding platform for creative projects.]
is an invaluable resource to us. Not only does it provide all the
start-up costs for your business, it single-handedly proves that you
have an idea worth selling and helps you access people out of your
immediate circle who would be interested in your project. Heck, we sent
seed capsules as far as Portugal, Taiwan, and Australia among others!
To visit Jarrod and Kendra’s Kickstarter page for Urban Farm HSC, click here.
Q: What surprised you most about the startup process?
A: It is definitely a lot of work getting
all of your ducks in a row! You have to know all your costs from A-Z,
and you have to connect with the people that you want to support your
project – let them know that you’re a real person with a real beating
heart who believes in what they are doing.
Q: Please tell us about the products you offer.
A: We currently offer seed “capsules” in a couple of different options – a standard Survival Capsule with everything you need to plant a well-rounded garden, and a completely Customized Capsule where you choose all 25 varieties. We also just launched a new, “Ready-to-Start” garden
that comes unsealed and non-capsulated for those looking to get started
right away at a cheaper price! Now’s a great time to get your garden
kit for the Spring season, and all of our kits come with included
planting-times and seed-saving instructions! We are also looking to the
future with other sustainable garden capsules and new projects.
These capsules contain heirloom seeds sealed in mylar bags for safe-keeping!
Q: Some of your products are
designed for long-term storage. What measures do you take to keep seeds
from becoming sterile over time?
A: There are three specific factors that harm a seed over time:
Light, oxygen, and temperature. Our Urban Farm capsules aim to keep the
first two intact, but unfortunately we have no control over the last.
(We put a suggestion on all of our capsules to store them in a cool
place). Our seeds are sealed in mylar bags which are then encapsulated.
You can literally bury your capsule in the ground if you want to (we
keep ours in the freezer)!
Q: What can customers do to help maintain the viability of their seeds?
A: You’ll want to keep your capsule in a cool place. I suggest a
fridge or freezer, a cool basement or cellar, or just burying it
straight in the ground. The mylar bag has a zip-lock enclosure, so you
can re-seal your bag after you’ve opened it. (It comes heat-sealed,
however, and once you do unseal it initially the oxygen absorber inside
can be spent rather quickly if you leave it open).
Q: Why did you select the seed varieties that you offer?
A: We wanted to offer the standard
varieties, but I really like fun varieties too. We are constantly going
to be updating the different kinds of seeds available for our custom
gardens. I’m a big fan of purple and red carrots, yellow lemon tomatoes,
and banana melons! When we started on this journey, we had no idea how
many varieties there are out there that you would NEVER find in a
Q: What are some of your future plans for Urban Farm Heirloom Seed Company?
A: I have been thinking about this since
day one! The seed capsules and gardens are only a start for us. We are
looking to the future for other sustainable methods that we can apply
not only to our lives, but to those around us! Our next step is to start
a full local CSA in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, transforming our
yard-space into a literal “urban farm.” I am in the midst of planning
out the details right now, and we are VERY excited about this! Look
forward to a new Kickstarter project within the next week or two!
Q: What advice would you give to new gardeners?
A: I would suggest doing research.
Organic gardening is the only gardening worth doing and many people
frown at the amount of work they think is involved. I suggest Googling a
film called “Back to Eden”
as a good starting place, as that revolutionized the way my wife and I
did our garden this year. Gardening can be far easier than people make
it out to be, you just need the right resources at your fingertips!
Q: Is there anything else you’d like Arcadia Farms’ readers to know?
A: We are so grateful for people
investing in a young company like ours! Many people don’t realize the
amount of work that goes into running a personal business – it’s a lot
of work with little pay, but for me it’s a labor of love. We enjoy what
we do. Sure, gardening, canning, dehydrating, and all the other facets
of sustainable living definitely are a lot of work, but I can tell you
one thing for sure: Every night at dinner time I am SO glad we do what
we do. Our food is fresh and delicious, not stale and filled with
preservatives and chemicals. It’s an ongoing transformation, and Urban
Farm HSC is just one way to help us live the way we do, while helping
Your Part of the Story
If you live in the Lancaster County area of Pennsylvania and would
like to join the Tishhouse’s CSA – or if you love what they’re doing and
would like to support their newest endeavor through Kickstarter – check
them out here:
Cinderblock Gardens CSA Kicstater Campaign
Urban Farm Heirloom Seed Company Website
Another Annie’s Heirloom Seed Winner
Last week we ended a great giveaway for heirloom, non-GMO seeds from
Annie’s Heirloom Seeds. Thanks again to everyone who entered! We had
such great participation. Even though I was very happy for our winner, I
wished I could do more for the rest of you. So I gave an open
invitation for our readers to comment here on 1) What one thing they’d
love to have from Annie’s catalog and 2) one garden tip. We planned to
pick our favorite reader tip and give the winner the seeds they desire
courtesy of the farm! And that’s just what we did…
Everyone had great tips (and I wish I could have picked more than one “winner”)! But at the end of the day, Tina’s Folded Newspaper Pot Pictoral takes the cake seeds. Congrats, Tina! She’ll be receiving the purple Falstaff Brussels Sprouts she desires. Thanks to everyone for their tips!
Did you enjoy this article? Visit www.arcadia-farms.net for more info on eating healthy, saving money and buying locally.
Posted by Katie
@ 09:12 AM EST