While the fate of season three of Planet Green's reality series "The Fabulous Beekman Boys" remains a mystery, it's not stopping Josh Kilmer-Purcell and Brent Ridge from making an impact off-screen. The pair have been busy with a new cookbook, various celebrity engagements, and expanding their Beekman1802 empire. Their latest effort is rallying their extensive fan base and raising awareness of the potential demise of Landreth Seeds, America's oldest seed house and fourth oldest corporation of any kind.
"Recently, we logged into our e-mail to find a disturbing message from our neighbors stating that if Landreth didn’t raise enough operating capital within 30 days, 2011 would be their last growing season," wrote Kilmer-Purcell and Ridge in a CNN article yesterday. "After 227 years of continuous operation, Landreth Seed Company would see its remaining assets harvested by lawyers and bankers."
Landreth specializes in heirloom seeds, which are open-pollinated, often passed down through the generations, and are not commercial hybrids or genetically modified variants. According to owner Barbara Melera, efforts to raise capital have been stymied due to the current age of factory farming and the rise of cheaper, genetically-modified seeds.
“Its become obvious that the only way Landreth will get out of this dilemma is the old fashioned way,” she said. “We have to sell our way out. There are 84 million gardening households in this country. We need 1/84th or less than two percent of all the gardeners in America to purchase a catalog from us to make this goal.”
The company has apparently been given a deadline to sell the one million catalogs ($5 each) by September 30th. “There is no question that meeting this goal will be a great challenge,” Barbara says. “There is also no question that only in America would it be possible to achieve.”
As of September 16th, Landreth had sold over 11,000 catalogs - which doesn't bode well for reaching their goal. Nevertheless, with the support of the Beekman Boys and other green sites, optimism remains high that more will be tallied - and perhaps even someone with deep pockets might step in to assist.
Are you reading this Martha Stewart?
To lend a hand and help Landreth survive for another 227 years, hit this link to purchase a 2012 heirloom seed catalog.