Native Seeds/SEARCH

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Native Seeds/SEARCH
  • 3584 E. River Road
    Tucson, AZ 85718
Key people
Joy Hought, Executive Director [1]

Native Seeds/SEARCH, founded in 1983, is a nonprofit conservation organization located in Tucson, Arizona in the United States.

In the words of its mission statement, it seeks "to conserve, distribute and document the adapted and diverse varieties of agricultural seed, their wild relatives and the role these seeds play in cultures of the American Southwest and northwest Mexico."

It supports traditional, native farmers and gardeners for the well-being of the food supply and community health. Specifically the organization maintains a seed bank and a Conservation Farm in Patagonia, Arizona, and distributes seeds, native food products, and indigenous arts via mail order and a retail store in Tucson. The organization also provides free or reduced-cost seeds to Native Americans.[3][4]

SEARCH is an acronym that stands for Southwestern Endangered Aridland Resource Clearing House.[5]


Native Seeds/SEARCH was founded in 1983 by Gary Paul Nabhan, Karen Reichhardt, Barney Burns, and Mahina Drees.[6][7] The organization grew out of a Meals for Millions gardening project in cooperation with the Tohono O'odham Nation. Native Seeds/SEARCH was founded as a means of curating, collecting, and distributing seeds of traditionally grown crops of the Southwest.

In 1991 Dr. Nabhan was named a recipient of a MacArthur Foundation grant to pursue his studies of the agronomic characteristics and health value of desert food plants, including in relation to controlling diabetes among Indians and Hispanic Americans.[5]

As of 2016, the Native Seeds/SEARCH seed bank contained seeds from over 1800 plant varieties.[8] In addition to a seed bank, Native Seeds/SEARCH opened a conservation farm in 1997.[9] Seeds are distributed by mail order and a retail store in Tucson. Since 2001, Native Seeds/SEARCH has operated Southwest Regis-Tree to conserve Native Southwestern perennial species.


  1. ^ Wilder, Janos. "NS/S Welcomes New Executive Director". Retrieved 10 October 2017.
  2. ^ 990 filing 2010
  3. ^ Allen, Lee. "Sowing and Distributing Centuries-Old Seeds". Archived from the original on 22 October 2016. Retrieved 5 October 2016.
  4. ^ Capps, Robert (July 1, 1996). "'TYPE 2 DIABETES CONTINUES TO PLAGUE INDIAN RESERVATIONS, NEW HOPES ARE SCARCE'". “DiabetesHealth”. Retrieved January 5, 2018.
  5. ^ a b Jane, Brody (May 21, 1991). "'To Preserve Their Health and Heritage, Arizona Indians Reclaim Ancient Foods'". ‘’NYT’’. Retrieved January 5, 2018.
  6. ^ MacCaskey, Michael. "Preserving Desert Crops". Retrieved 30 November 2013.
  7. ^ "History and Mission". Native Seeds/SEARCH. Archived from the original on 3 December 2013. Retrieved 30 November 2013.
  8. ^ Weingarten, Debbie. "Community Spotlight: Native Seeds/SEARCH, Part II". Archived from the original on 2016-10-06. Retrieved 2016-10-06.
  9. ^ "Conservation Farm". Native Seeds/SEARCH. Archived from the original on 6 February 2015. Retrieved 30 November 2013.

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