Mar 10, 2022
‘Sunflowers for Ukraine’ to aid Ukrainian relief, says Harris Seeds
As the situation in Ukraine worsens, sales of sunflower seeds could help war relief efforts.
Seen all across Ukraine’s countryside, sunflowers have become the country’s unofficial national flower. Since the start of the Russian invasion, the flower has become a worldwide symbol of unity with the Ukrainian people.
Through its “Sunflowers for Ukraine” collection, the Rochester, New York-based Harris Seeds plans to donate all proceeds of online sunflower seed sales to Ukrainian aid and refugee assistance.
“Hearing what’s been happening and seeing the stories has been really heartbreaking for everyone here,” Kendall Brittingham, Harris’ marketing director, told Vegetable Growers News. “A lot of growers and gardeners come to us for their flowers, so we felt it would be a great fit. It’s symbolizing more than just what it normally does, a beautiful flower. Now it’s symbolizing the strength and hope of the people of Ukraine.”
Sakata Ornamentals is also helping in the effort by contributing many seeds.
While Brittingham isn’t sure if anyone at Harris maintains a personal connection with Ukraine, the staff is saddened by what’s going on.
The idea to help Ukraine through seed sales emerged in a company brainstorming meeting when a germination lab manager noted sunflowers’ presence in Ukraine.
“This (war) is something totally new for people in my generation,” she said. “It’s a scary thing. We haven’t been around for an invasion before. A lot of people have big hearts and don’t want to see people suffering.”
– Doug Ohlemeier, Organic Grower assistant editor