Master gardener Maureen Gilmer points out the advantages of purchasing seeds from nonprofit groups.
Putting your investment dollars in company stock that shares your personal values is just one aspect of socially responsible living. While your IRA portfolio may promote positive social ideals, so too can you turn your dollars toward a good cause when buying seed for the new year's garden.
Purchasing supplies from nonprofit companies can support vital causes from sustainable agriculture to cultural diversity and habitat conservation, putting your money to work for social change.
One clue to nonprofit status is a website address that ends in ".org." Online stores were often created after establishment of the original nonprofit organization. The retail end generates cash to better ensure the agricultural, ecological and cultural value systems survive in a rapidly changing world.
Most organizations are devoted to preservation of diversity in the plant world. Plants no longer widely cultivated are disappearing from modern agriculture altogether. Continuous cultivation and seed banks are the only means of assured survival. Other goals may be conservation of native species with dwindling wild populations. Promoting species that conserve water resources is another issue. Even preservation of important heritage gardens themselves can be a nonprofit's reason to live.
These are some of the most well-established nonprofit catalogs and websites, along with their broader social and scientific goals:
Conscious living means you promote your personal values in everything you do. When you do business with these companies, you know you're contributing to a good cause while obtaining seeds and plants for your garden.
(Maureen Gilmer is a horticulturist and host of Weekend Gardening on DIY-Do It Yourself Network. E-mail her at firstname.lastname@example.org. For more information, visit: www.moplants.com or www.DIYNetwork.com. Distributed by Scripps Howard News Service.)