Seedleaf began with a gift. An area landowner approached a small faith community, Communality, and offered the use of land to grow food. It was at this residence off of Clay’s Mill Road that Communality volunteers ploughed, installed and maintained a quarter acre garden of vegetables and flowers with the help of area farmer David Wagoner and seed money from the One Horizon Foundation. At the end of that season it was clear that more food could be grown with a bit more structure.
So in the fall of 2007, Ryan Koch asked a few key volunteers to serve as board members and Seedleaf incorporated as a non-profit organization. Serving as Executive Director, Ryan has led Seedleaf through four growing seasons as it strives to “nourish communities by growing, cooking, sharing and recycling food.”
In 2008, Seedleaf grew by installing two additional gardens, one at Al’s Bar and another named the London Ferrell Community Garden. It also began collecting food waste from Third Street Stuff for composting at the London Ferrell Community Garden.
In 2009 Rebecca Self joined Seedleaf’s staff and dramatically expanded its capacity to offer hands-on educational programming. Seedleaf earned 501(c)(3) tax exempt status as a charitable non-profit while installing and maintaining a total of 10 gardens, providing 800 contact hours of education and coordinating over 2500 hours of volunteer efforts. After success composting Third Street Stuff kitchen waste, in 2009 Seedleaf partnered with LFUCG to begin its Compost Partners program with 10 area kitchens and restaurants.
In 2012, Seedleaf has continued to expand its outreach by maintaining 8 commuity gardens and growing food on another 8 additional plots for Seedleaf Farms. Seedleaf also picks up compost from 20 area kitchens and restaurants in the Compost Partners program (recycling over 14,500 gallons of waste), giving 50 community cooking/preserving classes for children and adults, and had close to 2000 contact hours with more than 750 people.
The future only looks brighter as Seedleaf strives to “increase the amount, affordability, nutritional value, and sustainability of food available to people at risk of hunger in central Kentucky” and finds new opportunities and partnerships to expand this mission everyday.