When is a seed catalog more than a seed catalog?
When it is the Fedco Seed catalog.
Fedco, founded in 1978, is a worker-consumer cooperative in Maine known for promoting the ideals of cooperation, transparency, and the common ownership of seeds. These archives contain thousands of pages of Fedco’s seed catalogs. As one of its editors noted, “We give our readers things to think about.” Annual themes have included the role played by soil bacteria—the microscopic heroes that make life on this planet possible; the contributions of plant breeders and seed keepers; poetry by Walt Whitman, Vergil, and Russell Libby, among others. Editorials often stress the negative impact multinational corporations have on the genetic diversity of food crops, and provide annual updates on genetic engineering and the consolidation of the seed industry. Bits of humor are throughout, some of them in possibly the catalogs’ best feature: original art, and engravings from old seed catalogs and horticultural books. It is, in the words of Fedco’s founder CR Lawn, “More than a marketing tool.”
Fedco Seeds, "Fedco 2017" (2017). Fedco Seed Catalogs. 1.