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Assistant Seed Historian Seed Savers Exchange

  • Date Posted July 31, 2020
  • Location Decorah, IA
  • Category Agriculture / Nonprofit
  • Job type Full-Time
Company description For more than 43 years, Seed Savers Exchange, a non-profit, nationally-focused organization based in the Driftless Region on the outskirts of Decorah, Iowa (near where Wisconsin, Iowa and Minnesota converge on the Mississippi), has focused on conserving and promoting America's culturally diverse but endangered garden and food crop heritage for future generations. Seed Savers Exchange was a pioneer in the advocacy for preserving these heirloom varieties for generations to come, and is committed to keeping these varieties where they belong—in our gardens and on our tables. Job description

Assistant Seed Historian

Seed Savers Exchange is a non-profit organization based in Decorah, Iowa focused on conserving and promoting America’s culturally diverse but endangered garden and food crop heritage for future generations. Seed Savers Exchange is looking for dynamic, detail-oriented, cultural history and garden enthusiasts to fill two new five-year grant-funded Assistant Seed Historian positions. The Assistant Seed Historians will assist the Seed Historian with research and documentation of heritage crop varieties in our collection of over 20,000 accessions.

This is a full-time, benefits eligible five-year grant funded position.  

Applications reviewed on a rolling basis. Priority deadline: August 19, 2020.


Essential Duties and Responsibilities:

  • Assist the Seed Historian to research varieties within Seed Savers Exchange’s seed bank collection and assess the value and priority of accessions based on Accessions Policy priorities.
    • Guide future seed bank acquisitions by corresponding with seed donors and evaluating prospective seed donations 
    • Assist Preservation staff to identify opportunities to acquire new inventory for existing accessions and document materials 
    • Special focus on donors of multiple accessions and engaged donors
    • Guide research of backlogged seed donations by corresponding with potential donors and evaluating prospective donations
  • Contact donors, family members of donors, experts, or other individuals to collect cultural and oral histories of varieties in the Seed Savers Exchange collection
  • Organize, document and digitize collection materials such as correspondence, news articles, images, or other reference materials.
  • Assist with inventorying, seed packaging, and fulfilling collection seed request distributions during peak times January-April


  • Exceptional written and verbal communication skills.
  • Exceptional interpersonal skills
  • Proficiency with Office Suite and the ability to work in a complex Access database.
  • Ability to effectively complete projects with multiple competing deadlines in a timely manner.
  • Ability to work effectively as part of a team and individually


  • Degree in Anthropology, Horticulture, History, Library Science, Ethnobotany, Museum Sciences, a related field, or equivalent experience.
  • Previous experience working with diverse communities (cultural competency)
  • Demonstrable record of successfully working independently and as part of a team through previous academic or professional experience.
  • Excellent attention to detail and strong organizational skills.
  • Previous experience documenting oral histories or with creative storytelling


  • Employee/family health insurance
  • Paid time off
  • Paid holidays
  • 401(k) with employer match
  • Employee merchandise discounts
  • Participation in employee wellness program


Compensation this position is : hourly, under $15/hr Application instructions Please click here to sign in and view application details.
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