Named for the hills and valleys of Appalachian Ohio, Ridge & Hollow is CFI’s regional seed company. We’re dedicated to increasing food security for future generations by supporting the preservation of regionally adapted, open-pollinated seeds through partnerships with skilled seed savers living in our region.
Our mission is to build a network of seed growers, preserve Appalachian heritage and increase market demand for locally saved seeds.
We have a vision of contributing to a resilient and biodiverse food system that supports a robust seed growers network while preserving our cultural heritage.
Our company offers an alternative to large agribusiness by only purchasing and distributing seed from local seed savers, farmers, and plant breeders, therefore supporting the local economy. Eight major companies control 94% of the global commercial vegetable seed market which has contributed to the loss of 93% of seed varieties over the last eight decades. Changes in seed laws, hybridization, increasing influence of agribusiness on seed and farming practices, and reduction in the number of people practicing seed saving have all contributed to an increased need for businesses like Ridge & Hollow.
Due to the nature of commercially hybrid seeds, often labeled as F1, the plants produced are often unstable. This means they are less genetically diverse and will need to be repurchased with every new season.
It is easy for climate change and disease to wipe out entire varieties of seeds that our food supply has become dependent on. Open-pollinated seeds come from plants that are freely pollinated by wind, insects, humans, or other natural forces. Because there are no restrictions on the flow of pollen between individuals, open-pollinated plants are more genetically diverse. This can cause a greater amount of variation within plant populations, which allows plants to slowly adapt to local growing conditions and climate year-to-year, making them reliable, unique and cost efficient.
Join us! We’re seeking seed savers to participate in the company! As a participating growers, you will receive seed saving training, on-site farm consultation, ongoing technical support, and payment for all seed orders. This venture operates as a social enterprise—a business that supports participating growers while also supporting our organization.
All of our seeds are open-pollinated, with some heirloom! We offer a modest yet satisfying mix of vegetable, herb and flower seeds. Our high quality varieties have stood the test of time on their dependability, usefulness and uniqueness.
These types of seeds come from plants that are pollinated (openly) naturally by insects, birds, wind, humans or other natural ways. Due to lack of restriction on the flow of pollination open-pollinated plant varieties are more diverse and have more variation (compared to hybrid varieties ) within their plant populations; this variation allows plants to adapt to local growing conditions and climates. So long as pollen is not shared between different varieties within the same species (think acorn squash and butternut squash) then the seed will remain true-to-type year after year!
These varieties come from plants that have a history; commonly passed down within a family or community. All heirloom varieties are open-pollinated however not all open-pollinated varieties are heirloom varieties.
Hybrid varieties are the result of controlled pollination; pollen of two different varieties is crossed by human intervention. Hybridization can occur naturally through random crosses but commercially available hybridized seeds are intentionally created for a desired trait. Hybrid seeds are true-to-type reliable for one planting; any seed produced by hybrid plants is genetically unstable and cannot reliably be saved year to year.