David Podoll

Organization: Prairie Road Organic Seed

Location: Fullerton, North Dakota USA


The commitment to community and regional adaptability drives seed production at Prairie Road Organic Seed. Their goal is continual improvement and adaptation in both the vegetables and crops. They foster varieties with enough genetic diversity to enable them to adapt and perform well in our region. Their work focuses on harvesting the best and planting back generation after generation to produce varieties that are enduring and constantly adapting to what is going on with our climate and our environment. “We do what farmers have been doing for millennia,” David explains. They focus special attention on selecting plants that thrive in organic systems. Their goals are to cultivate plants with enduring strength and vigor to deal with variable growing conditions. Through Prairie Road Organic Seed, the Podolls offer over 35 varieties of seeds adapted to thrive in the Northern Plains region, with more varieties in the works. The seeds are direct-marketed through their website, local and regional retail partners, and at regional shows and conferences. Direct marketing has added a lot to their knowledge; talking to their customers provides a perfect feed-back loop. They view their seed business is a vital extension of local and regional food systems. On-farm research is key to the operation. At any one time, there are several on-farm research plots. “We are targeting underserved crops not likely to be addressed by land-grant university research,” David says. He is pleased that they’ve been able to dedicate 8 to 10 acres to small grain seed and variety research. Their vegetable plots are virtually constant research incubators. As founding members of the Northern Plains Farm Breeding Club (FBC), the Podolls are excited to work with plant breeders to develop varieties well suited to organic production, increase diversity in rotations, and expand the use of regionally relevant seeds. “Farmers are losing the power to choose what seed to grow, where the seed comes from, and how it is produced. The FBC addresses the triple bottom line of sustainability: ecological, social and economic.” “Farming must be an artful venture,” David says. “Seeds are a sacred thing. Everything we have now is built on farmers selecting seeds for millennia. All of that genetic diversity is a great gift. Seeds should not be owned, patented, or controlled.”

OSSI Pledged Varieties by David Podoll