Irena Hollowell



I first found my calling towards varietal preservation in the highlands of Ecuador in 2004, at the age of 24, with the Red de Guardianes de Semillas.  Later I visited seed collectors in Thailand and India, and when I returned to the US, I wanted to continue the work of varietal preservation.


At Southern Exposure Seed Exchange, my work includes growing trial crops, growing seed crops, seed cleaning, photography, website content, blogging, customer service, back order management, seed donations (including to seed libraries), and a wide range of short-term projects.


One of my current passions is for finding crops that are of non-European origin, well-suited to cultivation in the Southeast, and currently mostly unknown to Americans, and for making them more available.


During my five years as a member of a commune (Acorn Community) and a worker cooperative (Southern Exposure) where we are all, in a sense, volunteer workers, I have come to love radical cooperation and horizontal structures of governance.