OAEC Garden & Nursery History

Every seed and plant in our collection has a story. 


For almost 40 years, we've grown thousands of varieties of annuals and perennials, from food and ornamental plants to medicinal and culinary herbs. Our techniques were largely inspired by Alan Chadwick, a pioneer in the organic gardening movement.

Perusing OAEC's plant collection

Through Plant Sales, seed and plantling donations and by hosting seed swaps, we share the wealth of this common plant heritage.

Learn more about how our Mother Garden Biodiversity program is giving back.

 Our Goals:

  • To promote cross-cultural understanding through crops that have been important to various peoples around the world
  • To promote regional food security by offering as many perennial food crops and culinary herbs as we can
  • To encourage the practice of Permaculture by offering plants appropriate to its designs and applications
  • To create safe habitat gardens for butterflies, honeybees and other beneficial insects and pollinators

Since the beginning of the 20th century, much of the genetic diversity of our food crops has been lost and continues to be threatened. We strive to educate visitors about biodiversity and the array of plant species—particularly food crops—still available to us.

We believe in the healing power of plants.

Over the years, we have fallen in love with countless plants on this site. Come share in their beauty with us!


Dig In

Our Plant Sales would not be possible without the support of our wonderful volunteer staff. If you are interested in helping at any of our Plant Sales, please contact Janel Healy at plantsale@oaec.org.

Reflections from a volunteer:

"I feel honored to be a part of the OAEC plant sales. You put so much work and love into preparing the seedlings from your seed bank, and then they get to spread out all over the county (and beyond) to new, happy garden homes with folks who love and tend them. Everyone walking through your gate is so happy to be there. It feels like the true meaning of community propagation!"