NSS Executive Director Larrie Warren

The monthly meeting of the Patagonia Woman’s Club on January 8 featured two members of Native Seeds/SEARCH’s staff: Larrie Warren, newly named executive director, and Lynda Prim, manager of the farm here in Patagonia.

Both spoke to the importance of strengthening the world’s collection of ancient seed strains as climate change brings extreme conditions in which these heirloom seeds are more likely to thrive than the hybrids that are now commonly in use.

Native Seeds/SEARCH began by finding seeds and growing plants traditionally used by southwestern Native American tribes—plants that thrive in our desert environment. They have been saving the seeds from each generation of plants grown on the farm, which are stored in their seed bank in Tucson. Today, they have broadened their mission to include several educational programs.

Warren has been with the nonprofit organization for about two months and says his favorite part of the job is visiting the seed farm because he likes Patagonia and believes the work at the farm is the heart of the organization. According to a press release, the new director grew up in Mesa, Arizona, and has a degree in American history from Arizona State University. He taught history of the southwest for the Maricopa County Community College System and then went into the Peace Corps, working in the Philippines. He later became country director for Western Samoa, and he has worked recently with relief organizations.

Warren told the audience that he really wanted to get this position with NSS. He feels that going backward to propagate ancient seeds is helping insure the future, which, he says, is “filled with new and momentous challenges.”