The Seed Savers Exchange is an Iowa-based nonprofit that preserves genetic diversity in seeds and distributes heirloom (non-hybridized and thus non-sterile) seeds to gardeners. If you're looking for a source of exciting seed varieties to plant this year, look no further.
From their website:
If you want variety, superior flavor, unusual colors and shapes and unique histories, heirloom gardening is a wonderful alternative to growing the F1 hybrids featured predominately by many large seed companies. Most home gardeners and grower don't need tomatoes with skins tough enough to withstand cross-country shipment, or potatoes that will pass the McDonald's uniformity test. Since the 1940s the hybrids have been the most marketed varieties to home gardeners. Choices grew increasingly smaller as the seed companies discarded those varieties that did not fit the factory-farm, monoculture mold.Many hybridized plant varieties were also bred to ripen all at once to aid in mechanical harvesting. Heirloom seeds tend to have staggered ripening periods, which is far more beneficial to home gardeners.
Although the old time varieties were worthy of continuing, many were dropped by seed companies in favor of the hybrids and gradually home growers couldn't get the same tomatoes and peppers they remembered from childhood. An entire generation grew up believing that all tomatoes were red, round and identical in taste. However, heirloom gardening is putting an end to that myth! There are thousands of different tomato varieties, and although some are red and round there are many others with incredibly complex flavors and a virtual rainbow of colors!
We have added Seed Savers Exchange's Heritage Farm to our list of Iowa Gardening Resources. Their seeds, of course, are an asset to gardeners throughout the U.S. and beyond. Of course, there are many other great sources of heirloom seeds out there; Heirloom Seeds and Victory Seeds are just a couple of them, and Halcyon has not only a listing of heirloom seed sellers but also a list of seed exchange and swapping organizations.
If you have a gardening resource you'd like to suggest for your state, check out your state's page on Gardenaut and then submit your suggestion of a state- or region-specific book, website, blog, or other aid to home gardeners using the handy submission form linked from the bottom of every state resource page.