A “volunteer” sunflower blooms in the garden
The cult of uniformity that has enveloped agriculture and our culture as a whole, is sweeping the globe, laying earth bare and denying diversity. – primal seeds
This year we’ve launched a few homegrown campaigns here at PTF headquarters. From encouraging our readers to grow closer to home, then preserving the bounty and now the next step in self reliant food production – saving seed diversity.
Not only is this challenge to raise awareness, the goal of this challenge will focus people become truly self-reliant in their own food and seed production. Instead of having to rely on hybrid seeds which have to be purchased year after year we want to shift the focus and concentrate on finding and providing regionally adapted, open-pollinated seeds and supplying the tools and knowledge needed for food self-reliance and seed production.
As seasoned and newbie gardeners alike know, it’s easy to buy new seed every year, but saving your own will not only save you money but hopefully provide some satisfaction as a minor act of empowerment against the corporate control over the world’s seed supply. Yep that’s right. You’ve probably heard of Big Oil – well, there’s a new kid on the block. Multi-nationals now own the rights to many of the world’s food seed varieties, but any concerned gardener can short-circuit the system by saving seed.
While consumers struggle to fuel their cars and put food on the table, oil companies (like Exxon Mobil, BP and Conoco Phillips) and seed companies (like Monsanto, Cargill and ADM) are raking in record profits. – OCA
Save Your Seeds – take back your food supply from corporate controls
There are many reasons to save seed; to save money, to preserve a non-commercially available variety, to observe varieties for adaptation to our difficult growing conditions, to share the bounty of our gardens with other seed savers and for the pleasure of becoming an observer and an active participant in our own food production.
Start A Community Seed Bank – connect with fellow gardeners in your area, ensuring seed security
A seed bank protects rare and useful local crops. It is also an emergency source of seed if crops fail due to disease, pests, or bad weather.
Buy OP or Heirloom – try to stay away from hybridized or gmo contaminated seeds
Open-pollinated vegetable varieties reproduce themselves in one of two ways: cross-pollination between two plants (via wind, insects or water) or self-pollination (between male and female flower parts contained within the same flower or separate flowers on the same plant). Beets, brassicas, carrots, corn and squash are cross-pollinating, and so require isolation in the field to keep varieties true. Beans, lettuce, peas and tomatoes are self-pollinating, do not require isolation and are the easiest for seed-saving home gardeners to sustain year to year.
I pledge to take back control over the most sacred form of plant life – seeds
I will strive to save my own seeds, encourage self pollination and self seeding “volunteers”
Refrain from purchasing seed varieties controlled by Monsanto
Support local seed banks
Purchase organic, heirloom or open pollinated from independent seed companies who’s mission are to save seed diversity
Share your pledge with the world with this nifty icon – feel free to “save as” and use! Also join other homegrown revolutionaries at our sister site FreedomGardens.org
Seeds are critical to our success as gardeners and farmers. They are compact packages of genetic information and stored food reserves, just waiting for the conditions found in warm, moist soil in order to germinate and create tomatoes, carrots, beans and thousands of other delights out of sunshine, air, water and soil. For most of the last ten thousand years of human history, seed-saving was something nearly everyone practiced, because in order to eat and therefore to survive, it was necessary. The grains and beans which formed the basis of most diets were both seed and food. Grown in large quantities, the best were saved for planting and the rest were eaten. Our ancestors did this each year, generation after generation through the centuries. Variations in climate, soil and techniques from garden to garden and community to community, accumulated through the years, creating the incredible diversity which existed over much of our planet well into this century. These local seeds were integral to life and culture everywhere. Unfortunately, the vast majority of these varieties has disappeared.”
From Bill Duesing – Living on the Earth 1999
According to FAO estimates 75% of the genetic diversity of crop plants were lost in the last century. A survey by RAFI found that approximately 97% of U.S. Department of Agriculture lists have been lost in the last 80 years.
Seeds companies are being bought up at an alarming rate by Monstanto. Their most recent purchase was Seminis.
It is estimated that Seminis controls 40 percent of the U.S. vegetable seed market and 20 percent of the world market—supplying the genetics for 55 percent of the lettuce on U.S. supermarket shelves, 75 percent of the tomatoes, and 85 percent of the peppers, with strong holdings in beans, cucumbers, squash, melons, broccoli, cabbage, spinach and peas. The company’s biggest revenue source comes from tomato and peppers seeds, followed by cucumbers and beans.
The brand-name companies under Seminis (such as Petoseed) have developed, released, produced and distributed varieties common to the market farmer and even home gardener. These include Big Beef, Sweet Baby Girl and Early Girl Tomatoes; Simpsons Elite and Red Sails Lettuces; Red Knight and King Arthur Peppers; Gold Rush and Blackjack Zucchinis; Stars & Stripes Melon; and Bush Delicata and Early Butternut squashes
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:: Resources ::
Open Pollinated vs Hybrid