Dan and Val McMurray were amazing seed savers. They grew thousands of pounds of produce in their Creston valley garden each year, and saved seeds from everything. They traded rare and heirloom seeds with growers around the world. They grew many types of vegetables, but tomatoes were their passion.
Dan and Val believed that seeds should be shared as widely as possible without profit. Their philosophy was "pay it forward". They would send a few requested varieties of seeds to a grower and get many more varieties back. They amassed a collection of 1600 varieties of tomato and many types of beans, peas, peppers, melons, squash, corn and other food seeds.
After his death in 2012, Dan McMurray's estate donated the entire seed collection to the College of the Rockies in trust for the Creston community. Volunteers spent 3 days organizing the seeds. In 2014, the volunteers had organized into the Dan McMurray Community Seed Bank. Their goal was to maintain the seeds by growing out as many varieties as possible each year.
In the years following, the seed bank group engaged home growers to help maintain the seed collection. But it became increasingly clear that the primary goal of the seed bank should be to enhance food security. A large quantity of vegetable seeds in storage could provide food even if supplies from elsewhere were cut off. In late 2020, the seed bank group decided to create a new non-profit society, the Creston Community Seed Bank Society, to further the goals of the community seed bank.