SE Seed Video: Okra

Thanks to Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds for sponsoring the okra episode:

How To Save Okra Seed

How To Save Okra explores seed saving, seed growing and seed heritage in the Southeast USA. Interviews with farmers and growers across the south tell a story of seed heritage deeper than any one variety. Take a deep dive into saving okra to learn both the technical side of saving seeds and the reasons why it’s so important. This video features Jon Jackson of Comfort Farms and his West African Okra variety named, Motherland Okra.

Abelmoschus esculentus (also A. caillei aka West African Okra)

Okra’s beautiful flowers betray it as a close relative to hibiscus, whose genus it was previously categorized within. Okra’s botanical origins are disputed between East Africa and Northeast Asia, but despite it’s possible origin stories, we know the mucilaginous pod crossed the Atlantic during the slave trade and made its way from Brazil, to the Caribbean and into the Southeast of North America. Regardless of its mixed culinary appreciation, okra has found a home in the pickles, gumbos and multitude of fried okra dishes across the Southeast. Edible leaves, flowers and seeds make okra a versatile garden plant. Easy to grow, heat loving and drought tolerant, okra presents in a wide diversity of pod and plant shapes and colors.

SPACINGSame as when grown for produce
POLLINATIONPerfect, self fertile flowers, self and cross pollinated (insect)
POPULATION SIZEViable seed: 1 plant
Variety Maintenance: 5-10
Genetic Preservation: 25 plants
SCREEN SIZE7/64 – 16/64 inch

This video features:

Jon Jackson, Comfort Farms, Georgia
Bobby Wilson, Metro Urban Atlanta Farm, Georgia
Hank Bass, Cornerstone Learning Community, Florida
Dove Stackhouse, Sand Mountain Seed Bank, Alabama
Amyrose Foll, Virginia Free Farm, Virginia
Chris Smith, The Utopian Seed Project, North Carolina
Jason Roland, Organically Roland Farm, South Carolina
Angie Lavezzo, Painted Crow Farm, North Carolina
Owen Taylor, True Love Seeds
Amirah Mitchell, Sistah Seeds

Thanks to our video series sponsors:

Two Seeds in a Pod logo
Sow True Seed logo

In 2021 The Utopian Seed Project and Communal Studios received a grant from Southern SARE to create a Southeast Seed video series. The project traveled across 12 states and interviewed over 50 farmers, community gardeners, seed savers, seed growers and seed advocates. The footage was weaved together to tell the story and seed saving of six southern crops: corn, okra, southern peas, collards, sweet potatoes and squash.

This material is based upon work that is supported by the National Institute of Food and Agriculture, U.S. Department of Agriculture, under award number 2020-38640-31521 through the Southern Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education program under subaward number LS21-351. USDA is an equal opportunity employer and service provider.