I've written here about the D. Landreth Seed Company and their African-American heritage seed line before and I've recommended shopping at their booth at the Chicago Flower & garden Show the past two years, in particular if you were interested in growing heirloom potatoes. Moments ago while visiting the company's Facebook page I came across a status update that reads,
"We are in danger of losing Landreth due to a garnishment to repay a note. We need to sell 1 million catalogs to get rid of all of our debt, please help the oldest seed company in America!"
Wondering if it was a joke I scrolled lower and saw a posting by Barbara Melera, the company's owner, that reads,
"My husband & I took over Landreth Seed Co rougly 8 years ago and took a company from bankruptcy back to a healthy standing, we had to finance it with notes. We are in danger of losing this company due to needing an extension on notes, please see our garnishment notice. We need to sell 1 million catalogs to get completely out of debt. Consider purchasing a catalog & thanks for all of the support!"
The status update links to this Google Doc. I'll copy and paste the full text below. If this information is correct not only are we in danger of losing America's oldest seed house, we're also in danger of losing one of the few women-owned seed companies in the country. I really am at a loss for words so I'll just paste the content of the Google Doc Mrs. Melera posted on Facebook and link to the page where you can buy a catalog and hopefully save this institution.
Update: The response by gardeners across has been amazing. The seed company's website slowed down as word has spread across the Internet. If you can't load their website try calling 1-800-654-2407. They have a very small staff so you may get a busy signal. Also, check out the #SaveLandreth campaign I started on Twitter to organize gardeners and help get the word out. See the comment below about the question of GMO seeds.
Update 2: I've replaced the embeded letter with a text version, below provided to me by Barbara Melera, for fear that the Internet would crash my Gmail account. :0)
To All of Our Customers & Friends
All of you know the story of Landreth and most of you know me, Barb Melera. My husband, Peter, and I have been working to restore this historic American company for the past 8 years.
We set about to restore this Company because it is the most historically important American small business in existence. It is the only American company, still operating daily, that existed when this country became a nation. Its founders were honorable men who helped establish and guide the agricultural and horticultural industries of this country in the 1700s, the 1800s and the 1900s. Landreth exemplifies American business and the ethics and integrity that built this nation.
On Wednesday, August 31, 2011, the Company’s accounts were frozen by a garnishment order initiated by a Baltimore law firm. If this garnishment order is not satisfied within the next 30 days, Landreth will cease to exist and a part of America’s history will be lost forever. I need to sell 1 million 2012 catalogs to satisfy this garnishment and the cascade of other indebtedness which this order has now initiated.
If you want to help save this piece of America, if you love gardening and heirloom seeds, if you care about righting the injustices of a legal system badly in need of repair, then please help Landreth. Please purchase a Landreth catalog, and if you can afford it, purchase several for your friends. Please send this link to everyone you know, www.landrethseeds.com. One million catalogs is a big number, but with the internet it is achievable. Please help us to save Landreth.
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