The Native Seeds/SEARCH bank's primary function is to conserve this genetic diversity for the future. Over thousands of years, traditional agriculturists have selected and saved seed from plants that expressed a diversity of traits of interest to them or their communities - the ability to mature before the first frost, a sweeter taste, faster cooking time, or resistance to specific insects or diseases. Local, regional and global food security depends on this diversity. The seed bank houses approximately 1,900 different accessions of traditional crops utilized as food, fiber and dye by the Apache, Chemehuevi, Cocopah, Gila River Pima, Guarijio, Havasupai, Hopi, Maricopa, Mayo, Mojave, Mountain Pima, Navajo, Paiute, Puebloan, Tarahumara, Tohono O'odham, Yaqui, and other cultures.
Native Seeds/SEARCH offers small donations of seeds to eligible organizations in the Greater Southwest region each year. These Community Seed Grants are designed to support the work of educators and those working to enhance the nutritional, social, economic, or environmental health of underprivileged groups in the region, while simultaneously keeping locally-adapted crop varieties alive and in active use in farms and gardens. We are honored and pleased to be one of the recipients of the seed grants this year. So far the donated seeds have been used to start seedlings for school gardens run by EnrichLA.