If I haven’t already told you, “you should read the FEDCO catalog,” then well…you should. Here’s something off their website that is a goal we’re headed towards achieving in the coming season, including this one. Almost, if not all, vegetable seeds purchased this season have been heirloom seeds. Nuestro Huerto aims to cultivate, embrace and encourage biodiversity, good vegetable crops, and a sustainable manner of doing so….in all manners of the word sustainable. Read on here:
Why Save Seeds? by CR Lawn
1. To renew your age-old partnership with plants. Seeds are the life force. Plants, as living beings, desire to reproduce. By allowing them to go to seed and complete their growth cycle, you cooperate in a process essential to all life forms on Earth.
2. To retain control of your food supply. Some things are too important to allow other people to do for you. Food is a basic necessity and the cornerstone of our culture. Control of the seed is key to control of our food supply. By saving seeds you retain that lifeline. Over the past two generations, the seed industry has done almost no work to maintain, improve or develop open-pollinated varieties that will come true from seed. What little has been done has been accomplished by dedicated amateur seed savers and breeders. We need more such people. Instead, the industry has emphasized hybrid varieties whose breeding lines are trade secrets and whose seed will not come true to type. Lately, biotechnology research has almost completely replaced classical plant breeding at our universities and in the seed industry.
3. To preserve our heritage and our biodiversity. Farmers saved seeds and improved food crops for millennia. Seed companies have been on the scene for fewer than three centuries. Only in the last hundred years have farmers and gardeners become widely dependent on seed companies. Today the seed industry is so concentrated that just five large multinational corporations control 75% of the world’s vegetable seed market. They add and drop varieties according to their own financial interests. Many of our present varieties have only one commercial source. If they are dropped, they will disappear and you won’t be able to get them—unless you save seed.
4. To preserve the varietal characteristics you want. Most varieties being developed by the industry are for large-scale food processors and marketers. For the most part, they are bred for uniform ripening, long distance shippability, and perfect appearance at the expense of taste and staggered ripening. If you want the best-tasting varieties, save your own seed from the ones you like.
5. To develop and preserve strains adapted to your own growing conditions. The large corporations who control the seed trade bought out scores of small and regional seed companies and dropped many of the regional specialties. They are interested only in varieties with widespread adaptability. If you want varieties and strains most adaptable to your specific climate conditions, you can get them only by saving your own seed. Over several generations, seeds can develop very specific adaptabilities to the conditions at your site.
6. To help preserve our right to save seeds. The industry continues to place more and more restrictions on farmers’ and gardeners’ right to save seeds. Variety patenting, licensing agreements, and restricted lists such as that maintained by the European Union, are industry tools to wrest control of the seed from the commons and keep it for themselves. Terminator Technology, now in its developmental phase, would render seeds sterile, making it impossible for farmers to save seed and forcing users back to the seed companies for every new crop.
7. To increase our available options. Contrary to industry claims, patenting has not encouraged creative plant breeding. Instead it has reduced cooperation among plant breeders and restricted availability of germplasm and plant varieties. For example, Blizzard snow pea has been off the market for over a decade because the patent holder dropped it but will not grant permission to any other company to propagate it for sale.
Oh yes, and the link to the FEDCO catalog: Trust me, you’ll learn a lot! http://www.fedcoseeds.com/forms/sds34_cat.pdf
And if you’re reading the blog, and haven’t it made it yet to the farm, we had another magnificent volunteer work day, and would love to see you there. Thirteen people came by, and it is AMAZING what 26 eager hands can accomplish with a few shovels, rakes and 2 wheelbarrows. We managed to finish 3 beds and complete from start to finish another raised bed, all planted minutes after, go to TOWN on the weeds, and still have time to pick strawberries as fresh and sweet as you can possibly imagine. That is serious efficiency. I had to run and get some seedlings and our box of seeds from the greenhouse during our volunteer work hours, and when I returned, I could see from the road this hilarious and truly almost breath-taking image of all of these people with rakes and shovels busy as bees up on the hill. They looked completely insane up there on the hill, because from the road, you cannot tell what is going on up there…But really, I am so impressed by the dedication of our volunteers. They come for so many different reasons–some are just passing through, others want to learn how to grow food so they can do it themselves, others are experienced farmers and are eager to help us out and see how we do things differently in the city. With thirteen people, we can move a lot of dirt, fast. That tells me that this farm will continue to be successful, flourish, feed a lot of people, bring a lot of strangers together and ultimately show people how fun and totally essential it is to do this ourselves. No more relying on other people to do what we must. Without ranting-I’ll say this: Most of us on farms like ours find that the work we do, whether it’s for a few hours, or every day all day, will say this: It’s hard work, but it’s worth it. We wouldn’t want to do it any other way.