Friday, August 25, 2017

You Need to Start Saving Seeds -- Easy and Sustainable!

It's getting to be that time of year when our gardens are starting to wind down. If you're a lazy farmer,
chances are you've let some of your plants already go to seed.  That's actually a good thing, if you think about it.  Saving seeds is an excellent way to maintain sustainability and to take your future into your own hands -- instead of relying on big corporations to provide your food for you.

Why Bother to Save Seeds?

It's hard to imagine a day when we have no food.  And yet, throughout human history, people have endured famines.  We're facing a real possibility now with monoculture harvests that are genetically engineered.  Although many scientists endorse and back GMOs (genetically modified organisms), one only has to look into history at what monoculture crops have done.  We can point to the Irish potato famine as the poster child for why we shouldn't be planting all of one species or subspecies of food plants, genetically modified or not. Furthermore, there are patents on GMOs which prohibit people from saving and using that seed.  Don't believe me?  Monsanto has filed lawsuits against some 147 farmers since 1997 for saving their patented seeds for reuse.  And they have won, because food is apparently patented.  As we progress toward more GMOs, there are fewer heritage plants left, more monoculture crops, and other non-sustainable practices.

Why Worry About GMOs?

Now, whether the GMOs are safe to eat or not are up for debate.  While some folks are naturally hinky about eating a plant with bacterial or animal DNA in it, the issue is more how much herbicide and insecticide doused the plants and ended up in your food. How nutritionally dense are the GMOs compared to heritage plants.  We know that our fruits and vegetables are becoming less nutritious because of soil depletion, due to modern food production methods, so it's obvious that GMOs wouldn't have the same nutritional content as those foods grown using sustainable methods.

From a Scientific Point of View, Monoculture is Bad

Monoculture is a bad idea.  It's founded on the principle of planting one species, variety, or subspecies of plants, or investing in one variety or breed of livestock. Big agriculture often does this to maximize yields and profits.  It's a nice idea until a disease or pest adapts to target that particular variety.  In history, we've seen how disease wiped out entire crops and herds.  Yes, it cause famine, with undeniable human suffering.

Any engineer knows that having single points of failure is a bad idea.  And that is precisely what
we're doing with our agriculture.  The more we rely on one source, one variety, one breed, we open ourselves up for real problems.

You won't save the planet saving seeds, but you'll be taking a step in the right direction securing your own food. Saving heritage seeds from your garden can make the difference between having food and not having food.  Yes, it is that serious.

Saving Seeds is Easy

If you've never gathered seeds, you're in for a real treat.  Saving seeds is remarkably easy and ensures that you will have a crop next year.  If you have fruit, you'll have to wait for it to ripen in order to save seeds.  If you have beans or pods, you'll have to wait for the pods to dry out and get the beans out that way.  If your plant has flowers, wait for them to dry out and collect the seeds there.  Dr. Vandana Shiva and her colleague, Rishi Kumar, the founder of The Growing Club, shows you how in the video below.  

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