Medomak Valley High School has the oldest school based seed saving program in the United States. We preserve over 800 varieties in our seed bank and our gardens are expanding each year. The seeds we save each season have traveled to 37 states as well as other countries. Our seeds our also on display at living history museums such as Thomas Jefferson’s home at Monticello and George Washington’s Home at Mount Vernon.
We save our seeds and share them each season through our seed catalog. It is important to know that we are not a seed company and our seeds sold for genetic and historical purposes. We do sell our seeds to larger seed saving companies such as Baker Creek Heirloom Seed Company so that they can continue to pass along seeds we grow. Currently we are doing a grow out for Baker Creek of the "1500 Year Old Cave Bean" that originated from the Anasazi Indians of New Mexico. If you are interested in becoming a seed saver and doing a seed grow out please contact us! Also we are always looking to locate as many locally grown open pollinated seeds for our collection to save for future generations. Without other growers to help continue to save seeds, interesting qualities in the plant; taste, aesthetics, disease resistance, or ability to grow in midcoast Maine, will be lost.
We want to see our program grow and see other schools begin to develop similar programs. Our goal going forward is to develop a specific seed saving horticulture curriculum that other Maine schools implement into their existing science classes.
We also have an heirloom Hosta garden with around 70 different Hosta species as well as a Living History Arboretum containing trees from various historical sites and battlefields. The students not only are learning about botany and horticulture but they are also learning significant historical events through living plants and trees. For example, the Honey Locust Tree growing in our Arboretum was grown from a seed collected from the Honey Locust tree where President Abraham Lincoln gave the Gettysburg Address. It is stories like this that stick with our students, that keep them curious, and keep them wanting to learn more.
Each year we grow over 100 American Chestnut seedlings to sell and be re-introduced to the Maine landscape. During the summer months the gardens and Heirloom Seed Project are managed by our Teen Agriculture Crew. Each season we have between four and six students that maintain the gardens, fill seed orders, produce food, save seeds, and collaborate on projects with other Teen Agriculture Crews in Maine.
To view our online seed catalog follow the link here: MVHS Heirloom Seed Project Catalog
During the Spring you can visit us after school at the greenhouses to purchase flower and vegetable seedlings for your home garden, stop by and say hello!