The ability to save seeds, even heirloom varieties is being threatened by recent mergers of Bayer/Monsanto, ChemChina/Syngenta, and Dow/DuPont. We have gone from six to three companies owning the world’s seeds.
We may not live on a farm, but we can grow where we live.
It is all about the soil!
Restoring Our Seed Commons
by David Proctor
February 25, 2021
Urban Farm Lifestyle Magazine Published Weekly
These mergers have put in the hands of international corporations the intellectual property rights (IPR) of our seeds.
Few people realize or even care that when we buy seeds, many have “bag tags”, or do not even notice that in some states we can only use the seeds for one season.
One would think, so what, I will just buy more next year! And that is the whole idea behind it.
Not only can we not keep the seeds of our favorite varieties but we in essence rent the seeds for one season.
We lose the regionality of seeds that are adapted to grow in our area.
Southern Exposure Seed Exchange
Many think about what they would do if the “Apocalypse” happened.
They would go into their shelters and have their canned goods and ammunition in place waiting for the end so they would be a survivor.
I’m not one of the ones that think in these terms, but I don’t like someone telling me what I can and can’t do when it comes to my food!
You will not survive very long without seeds to grow your food.
Assortment of Seeds
Few even realize that this right to have our own seeds is being taken away from us.
Though most of the varieties are F1 hybrids, some are even limiting open pollination, even heirloom is being restricted.
This means that if you save seeds that have restrictions, you could potentially have legal problems and be sued.
“The Open Source Seed Initiative (OSSI) has identified four seed freedoms:
- The freedom to save and grow seed for replanting or for any other purpose.
- The freedom to share, trade, and sell seed to others.
- The freedom to trial and study seeds and to share and publish information about them.
- The freedom to select or to adapt seeds, to make crosses, or to use them to breed new lines and varieties.
Without control of our seeds, we have lost control of our food.
Since the first seed was planted, we have always had control, if that is taken away, the stability of our food source is taken away.
When seed varieties are eliminated due to monetary values, we lose very important biodiversity in agriculture.
This makes us much more vulnerable to droughts and other climate changes that may come our way.
Some people have noticed that large funds have been set up to fight this “Seed Democracy” idea. That the advocates of seed democracy are somehow “anti-science”.
This does not matter though; what matters is that we try to save some of our own regional adapted seeds for our own use and to be passed to future generations.
If you would like to learn about how to save seeds, go to Bill McDorman Seed School and Seed Teacher Training at rockymountainseeds.org
Check It Out!
How To Start Seeds
- Fill clean containers with seedling mix. Use soilless peat moss and mix in equal parts vermiculite and perlite to hold enough water and allow oxygen to flow. Don’t use potting soil.
- Pour soilless mix into a large bucket and moisten with warm water. Fill your containers to just below the rim.
- Plant your seeds according to your seed packet. Most seeds can simply be gently pressed into the mixture; you can use the eraser end of a pencil to push in seeds. When planting seeds, plant the largest seeds in the package to get the best germination rate.
- Cover containers with plastic. Prick holes with a toothpick for ventilation. Water as directed.
- Water newly started seedlings carefully. A pitcher may let the water out too forcefully. A mist sprayer is gentle but can take a long time. Try using a meat-basting syringe, which will dispense the water effectively without causing too much soil disruption.
- Find a place in the kitchen where there is natural bottom heat—on top of the refrigerator or near the oven. (Move the tray if the oven is on, as it may become too hot.)
- Seeds sprout best at temperatures of 65 to 75°F (18 to 24°C).
- When seedlings appear, remove the plastic and move containers into bright light.
- When the seedlings get their second pair of leaves, prepare individual pots filled with a potting mix with plenty of compost. Move the seedlings carefully to the new pots and water well. Keep pots out of the direct sun for a few days.
Lawn, CR. “Restoring Our Seed Commons.” Acres USA, Feb. 2021, pp. 12–22.
“Starting Seeds Indoors.” Old Farmer’s Almanac. N.p., n.d. Web. 25 Feb. 2021.