This is part of a series with Perfect Earth Project, a nonprofit dedicated to toxic-free, nature-based gardening.
“A seed contains the past and the future at the same time,” said the poet and writer Ross Gay, in a recent interview in The Nation. Hilltop Hanover Farm, a Perfect Earth Project partner in New York’s Westchester County, understands this firsthand. Through their native plant seed initiative, they are preserving the past by cultivating the plants that have been growing on this land for millennia, while sowing a resilient and biodiverse future.
Native plants have become a buzzy topic in recent years, and not just for their good looks. People are beginning to understand how vital they are to a healthy and robust environment. But to provide the greatest benefit, restore depleted lands, and give insects, birds, and other animals the food and habitat they really need, we must look beyond the plants that are native simply to North America, and be sure to include species local to our specific regions.
Photography courtesy of Hilltop Hanover Farm, unless noted.
Hilltop Hanover is doing just that, led in their work by Adam Choper, the farm’s director, and Emily Rauch, the native plant programs manager. The farm is part of a new group called Eco 59, a seed collective formed to grow and collect valuable local natives of the Northeastern coastal zone (ecoregion 59) for conservation and restoration in Westchester County, and to preserve them for the future through the Northeast Native Seed Network. “We’re working together as a collective to figure out supply chain issues, find out where the gaps are, and find a way to get the seed out into the world,” says Choper.