Many people wonder what is meant by open-pollination seeds, and the benefits of saving those seeds ,
verses hybrid seeds. (2013 post)
Open-pollinated plant varieties make seeds that will grow into a plant of the same variety.
By planting these saveable varieties, we help preserve our horticultural heritage & its diversity.
Some seeds have been grown, selected, & preserved by farmers/gardeners since ancient times, some as long as 9,000 yrs ago. These seeds were selected for exceptional flavor, nutrition, and for extended harvest season. Many are facing extinction.
Biodiversity strengthens our ecosystem. We can increase both the earth's biodiversity and our family's food security. The ability to feed ourselves strengthens our freedom to live our democracy,
and maintain our inherent right to self-governance.
Hybrid seeds, on the other hand, grow into plants which, while they are usable plants in themselves,
will not produce seed of the same variety
—hybrids do not 'breed true'.
The gardener who plants hybrid varieties,
will have to buy seed every year, and seed production is concentrated in the hands of a few companies, often owned by petro-chemical corporations.
Many seeds for sale in stores are hybrids, bred to produce under agri-business conditions.
(Biotech is about ownership.. the illusion of “owning” the seeds).
GMO 'seeds' - (Genetically manipulated seeds). Most seed-savers & organic farmers are aware of the dangers of another type of 'seed', a type of 'unpure' seed, known as GMO 'seeds'. These 'seeds' are manufactored by humans, and their pollen is harmful to bees and other living beings.
Organic gardeners & farmers can take the 'Safe Seed Pledge: & support seed-saving farmers who take this pledge: "Agriculture and seeds provide the basis upon which our lives depend. We must protect this foundation as a safe and genetically stable source for future generations. For the benefit of all farmers, gardeners and consumers who want an alternative, we pledge that we do not knowingly buy or sell genetically engineered seeds or plants. The mechanical transfer of genetic material outside of natural reproductive methods and between genera, families or kingdoms poses great biological risks, as well as economic, political and cultural threats. We feel that genetically engineered varieties have been insufficiently tested prior to public release. More research and testing is necessary to further assess the potential risks of genetically engineered seeds. Further, we wish to support agricultural progress that leads to healthier soils, genetically diverse agricultural ecosystems and ultimately healthy people and communities."
Locally, Uprising Seeds farmers have built their seed-saving business around their commitment to grow safe & pure seeds: http://uprisingorganics.com/safe-seed-pledge-gmo-testing
* * * * * * *
Seed Savers 'bible-book" “Seed to Seed” by Suzanne Ashworth for a guide on saving vegetable seeds.
Consider being 'profoundly local', like Vermont gardener & plant selector, Sylvia Davatz, who is supporting her local food movement to take the next logical step,
and to “establish a supply of locally grown seed as the underpinnings of a local food supply.”
“Small farmers are a threat to the consolidation of absolute power.” - Farmer Eliot Coleman
'The less biodiverse any system is, the greater the potential for its collapse.
In shriveling the gene pool... we strip our crops of the ability to adapt to change & we put the entire food supply at risk. The more food varieties we lose, the closer we slide to the tipping point of disaster.'
Info source: Ecology Action seed catalog & “The Seed Underground” Janisse Ray
Consider saving some bean & pea seeds this year, plus creating your own local heirloom seed-swap, and attend seed-swaps in neighboring communities with similar growing conditions.
Salish Seed Coop & Network & More Recommended Resources- http://transitionwhatcom.ning.com/group/seedsavers/forum/topics/see... .
Keep your seed genetics fresh & broadly diverse- purchase seeds through organic seed farmers, like locally Uprising Seeds- http://uprisingorganics.com/ thus increasing the genetic diversity of your seed supply.
"Seed Saving Basics" - Mauid Powell-(One Page Summary) OrgegonStateU- http://smallfarms.oregonstate.edu/book/export/html/175667 .
I'll add another blog later, with including more of the mysteries & hope found within a seed.