Our Mission

To redesign the funding and decision making systems for seed and plant development to focus on farmer success, food security, nutrition, and protecting the environment.

The idea for the People’s Seed emerged in the second half of 2016 after a National Plant Breeders meeting in August in Raleigh, NC. Tony Kleese attended a two day-session on Intellectual Property Rights where he listened to people from across the industry expound on the state of panic they had found themselves in as they attempted to do breeding work for the best of society while operating in a system that ran counter to that goal.

Founder Tony Kleese standing in his hemp variety trial field in the summer of 2017, the first trial in over 60 years in NC.

He walked away from that meeting with the profound realization that the entire plant development system was based on the fear of not getting a return on the investment of the time and money dedicated to the breeding effort and the corporate desire to monopolize the seed supply to minimize competition.

Whether public or private, everyone was trapped in this system and the only real answer they had was to patent the newly developed varieties to provide their programs with royalties or out-right monopolies through utility patents.

He knew there had to be a better way.

“I organized a two-day southeastern organic seed summit in early November 2016 and we all started outlining what needed to be done. By the end of that meeting, I had a clear path and we started taking action.” Tony Kleese

The first step was to recruit some help in the form of founding Board members and begin the filing of State and Federal paperwork for founding a non-profit. By February 2017, The People’s Seed was incorporated in North Carolina and by early August we had our 501C-3 status. We’ve launched a Founding Donors campaign to raise the initial capital to get us fully operational and will be organizing our first collaborations with cooperative grocers in NC in the spring of 2018.

The People’s Seed: Staff and Board