What We Sow

On the Personal, Ecological, and Cultural Significance of Seeds

New Release


By Jennifer Jewell

Formats and Prices




$38.00 CAD

This item is a preorder. Your payment method will be charged immediately, and the product is expected to ship on or around September 19, 2023. This date is subject to change due to shipping delays beyond our control.

An insightful, personal, and timely exploration into the wonderful world of seeds. 

In What We Sow, Jennifer Jewell brings readers on an insightful, year-long journey exploring the outsize impact one of nature’s smallest manifestations—the simple seed. She examines our skewed notions where “organic” seeds are grown and sourced, reveals how giant multinational agribusiness has refined and patented the genomes of seeds we rely on for staples like corn and soy, and highlights the efforts of activists working to regain legal access to heirloom seeds that were stolen from Indigenous peoples and people of color. Throughout, readers are invited to share Jewell’s personal observations as she marvels at the glory of nature in her Northern California hometown. She admires at the wild seeds she encounters on her short daily walks and is amazed at the range of seed forms, from cups and saucers to vases, candelabras, ocean-going vessels, and airliners.

What We Sow is a tale of what we choose to see and what we haven’t been taught to see, what we choose to seed and what we choose not to seed. It urgently proves that we must work hard to preserve and protect the great natural diversity of seed.


  • “What a wonderful, informative, useful book! A guidebook, a diary, a book of days, an almanac, a map, an encyclopedia, a corrective, and even a book of prayers….Wisdom Jewell shares with deepest grace.”—Camille T. Dungy, author of Soil: The Story of a Black Mother’s Garden

  • “A fascinating discourse on seeds, how we use and abuse them, and how to forge a more sustainable relationship with the seeds we depend on.”—Douglas W. Tallamy, author of Nature’s Best Hope

  • “A delightful blend of science and storytelling. With a single seed as her starting point, Jennifer Jewell takes us on a journey fueled by curiosity and wonder.”
    Amy Stewart, author of Wicked Plants

  • “With elegance and vulnerability, Jewell weaves stories from ecology, horticulture, food and her own life into a full and round narrative that reflects the fragility, hope and resilience of seeds along with their impact on our daily lives.”
    Uli Lorimer, Director of Horticulture at Garden In The Woods, Native Plant Trust

  • “Jewellinvites the reader to celebrate the extraordinary power and metaphor encapsulated in seeds.”—Jun Bando, Executive Director California Native Plant Society

  • “If you are a Cultivating Place listener, it’s likely you’ll hear Jennifer speaking as you read these words. This is a good thing; the curiosity in her voice adds another layer of appreciation to the topic of seeds; magical, glorious seeds.”  Loree Bohl, author of Fearless Gardening

  • What We Sow unspools the essence of seeds as the planetary lifeboats they are. Our future may be uncertain, but, as anyone knows who’s ever poked a seed into dirt and watched in wonder as a tiny pair of leaves unfurls and grows, seeds give us hope.”—Pam Penick, author of Lawn Gone

  • “Jennifer Jewell is a wise guide and skilled storyteller. An enlightening and important book.”—Georgina Reid, creator of Wonderground and author of The Planthunter

  • "The personal, the historical, and the scientific are woven into Jennifer’s penetrative book, bringing our focus to the kernels grown in pastures and gardens that nourish humanity. What We Sow illuminates the importance of seeds in preserving our histories, heritage, cultures, and family legacies; and of the need to maintain the seed diversity that I hope will someday restore decimated landscapes across the planet.”
    Wambui Ippolito

  • “With seeds as her lens, Jewell exquisitely and approachably calls our contemporary way of living to task for its "nature blindness" and offers strategies and stories of people and ways of being working towards a future that is more resilient, kind, and whole. I pray these seeds take root.”
    David Godshall, TERREMOTO

  • “Jewell’s reverence for the natural world comes through on every page.”—Publishers Weekly

  • "A hope chest of seed — dried and stored — the stuff of the next possible sowing, and the next.”—The New York Times

On Sale
Sep 19, 2023
Page Count
392 pages
Timber Press

Jennifer Jewell

Jennifer Jewell

About the Author

Jennifer Jewell is a gardener, garden writer, and gardening educator and advocate. Since 2016, she has written and hosted the national award-winning, weekly public radio program and podcast, Cultivating Place, a coproduction of North State Public Radio in Chico, California. Particularly interested in the intersections between gardens, the native plant environments around them, and human culture, she is the daughter of a garden- and floral- designing mother and a wildlife biologist father. Jennifer has been writing about gardening professionally since 1998, and her work has appeared in Gardens Illustrated, House & Garden, Natural Home, Old House Journal, Colorado Homes & Lifestyles, and Pacific Horticulture.

Learn more about this author


October 2023

  • Book Launch

    Napa Bookmine hosts Jennifer Jewell for a special book launch event.

    Napa Bookmine | Napa, California

    More Information