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SEEDS and Systems Change

Holistic problem-solving

SEEDS was formed back in 1999 to work in intersectional, multidisciplinary ways. We always bring a holistic perspective to problem solving.


This triple-bottom-line approach means that we get to work across spectrums, from children to adults, from the arts to the sciences, from direct education to policy and planning, and from individual backyards to the 10-county region.

Yes, we love working with individual kids! We also love that we get to engage their families, their teachers, and the communities they live within to make larger and long-lasting impacts.


Tackling one issue from multiple angles is our approach to making system-wide changes. SEEDS current movement building work to divert organic material from our landfills is a great illustration of how our program areas each respond to organic waste management. Here’s how:

K-12 experiential education

At SEEDS EcoSchool, students are getting hands-on culinary and gardening experience, learning to separate their waste streams, and learning about the magical ways ‘garbage’ becomes soil to grow new food.

  • Results: Our partner schools have expanded garden beds and recycling. Our students are future adults more motivated to compost and be ecological stewards.

Green-collar career exploration

SEEDS EcoCorps builds gardens and raised bed, installs nature-based erosion controls (using compost products!), and manages SEEDS growing Compost Training & Demonstration Center and Wood Rescue activities.

  • Results: In 2022, through these activities EcoCorps prevented an estimated 78 MTCO2e. Erasing these greenhouse gasses from earth’s balance sheet is like a year with 17 fewer cars, or the electricity consumed by 15 homes

Changing business-as-usual

SEEDS EcoStrategies consultants are convening advisory bodies, task-forces, trainings, and happy hours in order to leverage capital, influence policy and markets, and change business-as-usual moving food waste and other organics out of landfills and into circular economies.

  • Community Goal: Across the Northwest Michigan 10-county region, prevent 33% of organics from going to landfills and create more than 30 new local jobs.

  • Results: So far, over $600K leveraged for our community…and growing!

Exhibits and demonstrations

The SEEDS EcoLearning Center at Historic Barns Park is becoming a public showcase for circular economies – from the food waste coming from Trattoria Stella’s kitchen being turned into high value soil amendments, and from trees that were felled in SlabTown neighborhood being turned into fine furniture for sale.

  • Results: A growing Wood Rescue program and the 2023 installation of our Compost Demonstration  Center.