NEEM uses only select seeds from the finest companies carrying organic and GMO-free products and we grow our starter plants in our nursery according to the California Organic Standards Act of 1990.
Contact us for pricing, terms and conditions for contract growing your starts.
Seeds and Cultivars
We have been involved in organic Horticulture a very long time. We don’t just understand the concept of seed saving and cultivars, we developed them. In 1997, NEEM’s Founder and his partner, Robert Brandt Maehr, a horticulturist and Duke University graduate, through seed selection at our test garden in Bahama, North Carolina, developed a new cultivar, the Bahama Chocolate Habanero. Once the strain was isolated we filed plant variety protection for it. We contract grew this product with our good friends at Wiley Farms in San Joaquin Valley, California, shipped them to San Jose, hickory smoked and ground them at Ralph’s Smoke House then shipped the finished product to Gilroy for processing before shipment to North Carolina.
Why did a group that is such an ardent supporter of “local farms” do all of this in California? We had no local choice; there were no large-scale certified organic or sustainable agricultural operations in North Carolina at that time. Things have changed since then and we are proud to been a part of it.
NEEM and the Sustainable Agriculture Movement
We were involved with the National Organic Standards Board during development of the USDA Organic Seal and remain a long-term member of the Organic Trade Association (OTA). Bahama had Oregon Tilth organic certification, UK 4 Soil Association certification and worked under the guidelines of IFOAM and the California Organic Standards Act of 1990. The Founder met in the mid nineties with Gustavo Machin, First Secretary at the Cuban Interest Section in Washington, to discuss infrastructures required to support sustainable agriculture. Many of the ideas discussed in those meetings (farm waste audits, composting and neem tea sprayed on livestock among them) are realities today in the Cuban system. When we traveled to Cuba as a guest during PABEXPO and the U.S. Cuba Agricultural Exposition in 2002 we went with a gift of 2000 Bahama Chocolate Habanero seeds presented to the Director of the Ministry of Science and Technology. NEEM founder was also presented with a Cuban Engineer’s certificate in sustainable agriculture from the Minister of Agriculture.
NEEM became disillusioned with the certification process and began the path of sustainable production from trusted sources. NEEM has promoted sustainable concepts and sustainability before it was a buzzword.
NEEM only carries seeds from trusted sources (see list below), assure seeds are non-GMO, germinate and produce Starter Plants in accordance with the California Organic Standards Act of 1990. NEEM also has a “seed saving” policy and contributes seed to seed banks.
“Don’t panic, its organic.”
Seed Variety/Brand Seed Source
These are our seed sources and ones we recommend. Remember, even some of the most reputable also carry GMO seed. We know which ones have this tendency and require certificates of proof from them.
- Baker’s Creek
- Cane Creek Valley
- Ferry Morris (Ferry-Morse)
- High Mowing Seeds
- Johnny’s Selected Seeds
- Seeds of Change
- Southern Exposure Seed Exchange
- Territorial Seed
All seed available through NEEM is untreated and non-GMO and no chemical fungicide or seed inoculants are used.
NEEM starter Plants are not certified organic or grown according to USDA Organic Seal standards. Our standards are stricter than USDA. We produce them in our nursery in Durham with a capacity of 16,000 – 17,000 starts per grow. The majority of plants we produce are for our projects and the general community. NEEM also contract grows for others involved in sustainable production. We use our growing medium, NEEM First Bloom, for all starters once seeds are germinated. As an Executive Chef, NEEM’s Founder is always looking for different cultivars to bring to the community as a part of the educational process. Our greenhouse is a 110-year-old, 95 foot by 35-foot structure made with cyprus. Once scheduled for demolition, we have saved this historic Durham landmark and returned it to its once productive glory as a sustainable operation that serves the entire community.
“When a process is sustainable, it can be repeated, over and over again”
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