Zach Elfers

is creating plant propagation & field guides, writings, and access to seeds
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Even $1 means a lot! It is a vote of support and a big encouragement. You will have access to regular updates.
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Herb
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About Zach Elfers

Under the name the Nomad Seed Project, I am creating writings, plant propagation and field guides, and seed accessibility for a variety of wild plants. The project aims to demonstrate and encourage the practice of wild-tending natural landscapes as a conservation and rewilding strategy -- but more importantly, as a way of life. Inspiring hands-on symbiosis and good Earth stewardship is the educational and spiritual goal of the project!

Through the pictures and writings, I hope to teach about the plants, offering an intimate look at them in all their major life-cycles, and foster familiarity with them. Unlike other foraging how-to's, these ones will go full circle and detail propagation, regenerative harvest methods, and populations management.

Join me in support as I journey from botanical hot spot to botanical hot spot across eastern North America (and beyond?), documenting, describing, caring for, collecting, and even tasting from the plant populations and landscapes found along the way. There will be blog posts featuring high-quality photos and in-depth plant profiles, ecosystem types, and various related writings. There will be discussion of harvest, preparation, and cooking of food plants, as well as seed collection, propagation, aspects of the plant's life, and other ecological notes.

A major focus will be on the indigenous first foods, and other species useful as human food or medicine. Utilizing methods like horticulture, I hope to demonstrate persuasively that plants can be used for human purposes while their populations are not only conserved, but increased. One of my inspirations is M. Kat Anderson's ethnobotanical masterpiece, Tending the Wild. Using the same ideas and methods, I'm hoping to draw a picture of what indigenous land management might have looked like in eastern bioregions, and how using the same principles and working with the same processes, we too can tend the wild. When at all possible I research and reference ethnobotanical literature or indigenous authorities.

Going along with this, I want to improve access to the seeds that grow these beautiful and ecological plants.

The Nomad Seed Project collects seed in an ethical and regenerative manner. Acknowledging that the safest place for a seed is in the ground, I strive to plant each one with care. I am not motivated to join the seed business, but on a personal level I would love to share what I gather, so seeds are available upon request. Given enough time and the right seeds, we have the power to radically increase the abundance of the plants we love within our ecosystems, without doing major modifications or harming the ecological community.

All funds raised will go towards tools, materials, sourcing, automotive repairs and costs, and any other things necessary to keep the project rolling! Anything helps, and I thank you greatly. Your readership and contributions mean a lot!


This year, 2018.


I want to work with more tree seeds and start discussing forest ecosystems in more depth. I'd also like to track down certain species in at the edge of their natural northern limits in order to collect germplasm better suited in assisted-migrations northward, ahead of the curve of climate-change. There will of course be reference to my growing projects, many begun from seed collected in 2017. And if I can fit it, I hope to spend some time in the prairie around the Dakotas, Minnesota, or Nebraska around timpsula (breadroot, Pediomelum esculentum) gathering time.

Among the species to be featured/gathered:

  • Pawpaw -- Asimina triloba, Asimina parviflora, Asimina pygmaea
  • Persimmon -- Diospyros virginiana
  • Timpsula, Breadroot, or Prairie turnip -- Pediomelum esculentum
  • Native plums -- Prunus angustifolia, Prunus maritima, Prunus americana, Prunus umbellata, P. virginica, P. texana, P. rivularis, P. pumila, P. nigra, P. munsoniana, P. alleghaniensis, etc.
  • Chestnuts -- Castanea dentata, C. pumila, C. ozarkensis, and Eurasian species
  • Oaks -- Quercus spp.
  • American Hazelnuts -- Corylus americana, Corylus cornuta
  • Walnuts -- good selection Juglans nigra
  • Butternuts -- canker-resistance Juglans cinerea
  • Hickories -- Carya ovata, Carya laciniosa, Carya texana
  • Pecans -- northern Carya illinoinensis
  • Hicans -- if possible to find natural Carya hybrids...
  • Honey Locust -- Gleditsia triacanthos
  • Serviceberry -- Amelanchier spp.

Recent posts by Zach Elfers