Jeremiah Gettle, known as Jere, founder of the famous Baker Creek Heirloom Seed Company, with headquarters in Mansfield, Missouri, was touched by what the Adventist Development and Relief Agency was doing to alleviate hunger and provide medical assistance in India where thousands are dying daily from the pandemic.

“I want to support ADRA,” he said. “And I want to encourage other businesses to do the same. Together, we can make a difference. “

In four days, Jere contributed $430,000 from his online seed sales to ADRA. The funds will help provide life-saving oxygen and other essential medical supplies to the 11 Adventist hospitals in India.

Baker Creek Beginnings

Gettle’s dream since childhood was to have a hobby that would pay for itself and help a lot of people.

“Growing up, I always knew that someday I wanted to work in a seed company,” he reflected. “My family on both sides were into gardening and my parents allowed me a little plot of ground to plant. It was fascinating to watch the seeds pop up through the dirt and witness them turn into plants and then food. It just became my passion. During the wintertime, I would study seed catalogs from the front cover to the back.”

In 1998, at age 17, Gettle began saving, collecting and trading seeds. His mother encouraged him to start small and send his homemade seed catalog to 500 friends and family. With $100 and a tote full of seeds, he did just that.

Twenty-three years later, millions of people in 163 countries receive Baker Creek Heirloom Seed Company catalogs. The company has captured national recognition and the admiration of farmers around the world. What began as a hobby for Gettle has turned into the largest heirloom seed company in North America with a branch in Petaluma, California.

Preserving the Past, Sustaining the Future

Jere is passionate about preserving the past. “Old seeds tell a story,” he said. “They are a living piece of the past. They connect people to their roots and different cultures.”

Heirloom seeds, Gettle explained, are seeds that are antiques. They are heritage passed down from generation to generation and have not been controlled nor patented.

Before the pandemic, Gettle traveled and visited farmers around the world discovering different variety of seeds.

He also concentrated his energy into pure seeds that produce wholesome and tasty food, which is not genetically modified nor associated with large-scale commercial agriculture.

“At Baker Creek, you can purchase seeds that will grow things like Japanese black sticky corn, Hopi Turquoise corn, Atomic Orange corn, Montana Lavender Clay corn and many more,” Gettle said. “One of my favorite vegetables is a bright, red carrot from India. Their black carrots are tasty, too.”

Diligent work and perseverance turned Gettle’s childhood dream into a company, which has a global reach, offering heirloom seeds from nearly every continent while reviving and restoring seed diversity and security.

Reaping What God Sows

The pandemic impacted businesses globally, but for Gettle’s Heirloom Seed Company, God allowed his business to flourish. In a show of thanks, Gettle has been supporting other charities, like ADRA, to help in their relief efforts for communities in need.

I’ve known ADRA all my life,” Gettle said. “They do amazing work. I am thankful that I can contribute to India where there are so many people who need help. I encourage other companies to do what they can. Find creative ways to raise funds for projects. If we pool all our resources together, we can alleviate suffering.”

Gettle doesn’t know what the future holds for his heirloom seeds company, but rests assured that he will continue preserving heirloom seeds for generations to come and use the proceeds for good.

“Do what you can to help others and build awareness about what’s going on in creative ways,” Gettle said.


Learn more about Baker Creek Heirloom Seed Company

Learn how ADRA is responding in India


Crystal Earnhardt works with media relations for ADRA.