Now we were planting the seeds of a different kind of trade. A different kind of economy. One built on the mutual trust of nature and human. An interdependent relationship woven with seeds and soil, water and sweat. One founded on the ecological processes of life, not the profit margins of an economic system of death. We built gardens and we healed the land that week. We sang and linked arms and we shut down empire together. We cried, we planted, and we stood our ground for a thriving world; and the seeds of change took root.
In my work, growing and saving seeds of rare and endangered cash crops, I was keen to gain an understanding of the challenges and realities for an expanding cohort of horticulturalists that were continuing a traditional, low-input sustainable model of cultivation and responding to an increasing demand for organically grown produce.
On December 17, the United Nations General Assembly took a quiet but historic vote, approving the Declaration on the Rights of Peasants and other People Working in Rural Areas, by a vote of 121-8 with 52 abstentions.
The picture often painted for us is that we need corporate seeds to feed the world: they are alleged to be more efficient, productive and predictable. Locally developed farmer varieties are painted as backwards, less-productive and disease-ridden. But those of us with our feet on the ground know that this is not the reality in Africa.
Tucked away along a country lane just outside Coventry is Ryton Organic Gardens and home of a charity, Garden Organic, which brings together thousands of people who share a common belief that organic growing is essential for a healthy and sustainable world. Open to the public, it’s a place more than worth a visit.
The thin edge of the wedge has arrived in Whitemore, Tasmania. Got a letter in the mail the other day from the international seed company, Bejo, asking me not to save my own vegetable seeds – specifically beetroot and silver beet. What the shit? Bejo say that they are growing beetroots for seed somewhere in Tasmania – they say not where.
Revitalizing the practice of seed saving is vital for the world’s collective food security. Conservation techniques, such as the creation of seed banks and seed exchanges among farmers, gardeners, and even nations, play an important role in not only preserving ancient, heirloom varieties of important food crops, but also in mitigating against the increasing risks of pests, diseases, and climate change.
As odd as it sounds, I can’t help but think that it’s so ridiculously easy to point fingers at the short-sightedness of the Svalbard Global Seed Vault that not only is it also all-too-easy to label it as the “Vault of Doom”, but that this can lead one to miss out on the much more dire issue of what the Vault represents in the present.
The Svalbard Global Seed Vault is “supposed to last for eternity”, yet didn’t take the effects of climate change into consideration in its design and construction. One might wonder which “unknown unknowns” it’s not quite ready for either.
On a recent Saturday afternoon, a group of volunteers in the northern Montana city of Great Falls met in the local library to package seeds for their newly formed seed exchange, and to share their passion for gardening and food security.
A unique forest complex characterises Uttara Kannada district, where women farmers have nurtured and intimately engaged with their forest home gardens (FHGs) for centuries.
The Great Seed Festival weekend was seized as an opportunity to raise awareness of the current threats to seeds, the losses they have sustained in recent history and what this means for the future of food and farming.