Sower of Seeds

Amy Goldman is a gardener, author, artist, philanthropist, and well-known advocate for seed saving, plant breeding, and heirloom fruits and vegetables. Her mission is to celebrate and catalogue the magnificent diversity of standard, open-pollinated varieties, and to promote their conservation. Gregory Long, President of the New York Botanical Garden, describes her as “perhaps the world’s premier vegetable gardener.”

What originally drew Goldman to heirlooms was their beauty. “I was fascinated by their novelty and diversity,” Goldman told Organic Connections. “I fell in love with them because of their good looks and flavor, their utility—not to mention their history and their deeper meanings. . . . By growing heirlooms you are also preserving the best of the past for the future. This notion is sometimes called ‘eater-based conservation.’ . . . Hence it’s good for you and it’s good for the planet.”

Growing heirlooms is rewarding and fun. “The good news is that it’s just as easy to grow them as it is to grow modern hybrids,” Goldman says. “The same basic kinds of advice hold true. . . For the novice gardener, there are some choice how-to books on heirloom gardening available.”

In the foreword to a new book on seed saving, The Seed Garden, Amy writes, “The more heirlooms I grew, the more devoted I became to their conservation, eventually writing four books about heirloom vegetables that celebrate their beauty, flavor, history, and diversity.” In her new book, Heirloom Harvest, she begins, “I have romantic leanings and tend to follow my heart. . . . In hindsight , I know that my heart steered me straight, and towards a future I could never have imagined.”

Taking Root

A Chapter in Heirloom Gardening

Amy Goldman’s first three books, illustrated by award-winning photographer Victor Schrager with gorgeous images of Amy’s homegrown produce, were each awarded an American Horticultural Society Book of the Year award. Her first book, Melons for the Passionate Grower, was also nominated for the Garden Writers Association of America 2003 Garden Globe Award of Achievement, a James Beard Foundation Award, various Bookbinders Guild of New York awards for design and production, and the International Association of Culinary Professionals award for Best Design. Her second book, The Compleat Squash: A Passionate Grower’s Guide to Pumpkins, Squashes, and Gourds, won a bronze award of achievement from the Garden Writers Association of America. The Heirloom Tomato: From Garden to Table received an AHS Book Award in 2009.

Heirloom Harvest: Modern Daguerreotypes of Historic Garden Treasures was published by Bloomsbury USA on October 27, 2015. It features a personal essay by Goldman, photography by Jerry Spagnoli, and an afterword by M Mark. The book includes over 175 photographs of fruits, vegetables, nuts, herbs, and berries grown by Goldman on her 200-acre historic Hudson Valley farmstead.

Goldman’s writing has appeared in such publications as Martha Stewart Living and Organic Gardening. She has been profiled by the New York Times, Washington Post, New York Sun, Organic Style, and Horticulture. In addition, she has appeared on Martha Stewart Living TV and PBS's The Victory Garden.

Growing a Community

Amy's Non-Profit Work

Heirloom fruits and vegetables have allowed Amy Goldman to take her place in a community of gardeners, seed savers, breeders, scholars, and seedsmen who care about heirlooms with tremendous zeal. Her “friends across the miles” live all over the world: France, Italy, England, Australia, and down-home America. Their camaraderie and generous sharing of knowledge and seeds have enriched her life, her gardens, and her books. Amy’s fellow members of the Seed Savers Exchange—the nation’s premier non-profit seed saving organization—have inspired her to put into words what can be learned from the past in hopes of creating a more bountiful future.

Amy is a Vice Chairman of the Board of Directors of the New York Botanical Garden and the immediate past Board Chairman of the Center for Jewish History. She serves as a trustee of the Lillian Goldman Charitable Trust and the Amy P. Goldman Foundation. Goldman served on the Board of Directors of Seed Savers Exchange for more than ten years, half of that time as Board Chair; she now serves as a special advisor to the organization.

Art of the Garden

Sculptures by Amy Goldman

Inspired by nature and the harvest of heirloom treasures from her Hudson Valley gardens, Amy Goldman created a stunning line of limited-edition bronze sculptures. Aptly named “Rare Forms,” these works of art mirror the singular and timeless beauty of old-fashioned gourds, squash, melons, and tomatoes.

Visit Rare Forms