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Orta makes self-watering terracotta pots for starting seeds and microgreens. (And coming soon, for house plants!) Everything we make is non-toxic, plastic-free and handmade in Oakland CA

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I invented Orta Seed Pots because I was tired of killing my seedlings.  I turned my prototype seed pots into a company because I was ready for my professional life to align with my personal values.

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Four years in a row I started seeds with all the good intentions in the world, dreaming of homegrown tomatoes and unusual herbs you can't buy as starts. But each year, I skipped one day of watering and all my seedlings died. I wanted something that would be totally idiot proof for seed starting (because I am the original idiot when it comes to killing seedlings), but also be beautiful enough to keep on the kitchen counter, and made responsibly without any plastic.  

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Back then I was working as a corporate design consultant, and was dissatisfied with using my creative muscles to help big companies create more disposable plastic products, sell more soda, or other junk. Often I cried after assignments because the work felt so toxic to me. I realized that to bring my personal values to my professional life, I was going to have to go out on my own.

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After about a year of experimenting in between consulting assignments, I taught myself to slip cast ceramics in my garage, and made my first batch of self-watering seed pot samples. I debuted the Sixie seed pot at the National Heirloom Expo in Santa Rosa six years ago, and sold out on the first day.

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Since then I've been refining materials, forms, glaze colors and manufacturing methods to build a team and a viable business while keeping true to my values: Creating tools to help gardeners grow successfully, beautifully and responsibly.

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Today we're a company of 4 people, and we're still the only ones in the world making these pots.

Orta comes from the Italian word for kitchen garden. A traditional kitchen garden is a source of herbs, vegetables, fruits and flowers for your family and friends: The perfect balance of beauty and function.

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