I have an idea and wonder if anyone is interested.
I intend to start growing a high-diversity food forest (100+ species) in my yard. Buying plugs or saplings is out of the question - for it to be remotely affordable, I need to start the trees and shrubs from seeds. I don't have a huge area, though, so I'm still looking at a lot of money to buy quality seeds, and only use a few of them.
So I was thinking - if other people also wanted small quantities (1-10 seeds) of a large number of species, we could go in together to buy a bunch of seeds and split them up. Would anyone be interested in that?
Another thought is that I could buy a bunch of seeds, and offer them at a per-seed price calculated to offset my costs. Like, sell seeds for between 5 and 15 cents, depending on shipping and the initial purchase costs of the seeds, so that people could pick and choose their species and quantities, and we wouldn't have to get a bunch of people to all agree on a specific set of species. This way people could get 300 seeds of 100 different species for $30 or so. That should make it pretty affordable.
I know it might be a lot of work, but I figure that if counting and mailing seeds helps get more food forests created, that's a pretty high-leverage way to spend my time. : )
I'm interested in theory, am planning my food forest this winter, but haven't gotten down to species yet, nor do i have a greenhouse until probably February.
But there is probably a way we can cooperate since we are in similar USDA zones in the PNW. I'm planning for zone 8 for annuals and 8-9 for perennials.
My thought has been to buy seed and grow it out to transplant size, then sell or trade the extras. I live near Eugene. We might coordinate our efforts and arrange a future swap.
Working toward a food forest and self sufficiency in Western Oregon.
I can get trees and bushes here from the DNR for 40-80 cents each in very large quantities. If the DNR in your area has a similar program, you could all get together and order trees that way. It would put you years ahead of planting seeds and the cost is still pretty low. Just something to consider.
"People may doubt what you say, but they will believe what you do."
Location: Northeast of Seattle, zone 8: temperate with rainy winters and dry summers.
I'm sorry I never replied! I must have missed the email notification. My food forest project is mostly on hold for the moment (aside of planting a few fruit trees) because I'm in the thick of setting up shop as a market gardener, and trying to get the pieces into place for this growing season. If we get more people who express interest here over the next six months of so, maybe we could put together an order in the fall.
And in the meantime, when I come across a wild edible that would be good for food forest diversity, I'm collecting some seed. If you do the same, we can probably significantly boost the diversity we can get for our dollar.
It looks like in Washington, the DNR just sells conifer seedlings, with a minimum order of 100. Haha, there are enough conifers where I'm at already. It sounds like in some areas that could be a great resource, though!