Seed Savers Exchange

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Last year I heard Vandana Shiva speak as a part of Women and Water Rights week here at the U of M. While most of her talk was in regards to water, she also mentioned seed banks to protect diversity. She said these seed banks were important because the seeds were naturally adapted to grow in dry, overly saturated, or other specific growing conditions. I don't remember exactly what the contrast was to GMO seeds, but they might not have been able to do that. Also, these seed banks provide a variety of seeds that promote polycultures. In this week's reading, Shiva says, "When they conserve seed, they conserve diversity; and when they conserve diversity, they conserve a balance and harmony" (457). This balance and harmony in the soil doesn't exist in monoculture farming. In monocultures, the lack of crop diversity drains the soil of essential nutrients and is not sustainable agriculture.
While working at a camp this summer, I was very impressed when I learned that we acquired the seeds for our garden from a local seed saver group. Seed Savers Exchange is a non-profit located in Decorah, Iowa that collects heirloom seeds and stores them in Svalbard Global Seed Vault in Norway. Svalbard holds over 500,000 varieties of rare seeds from all over the world. Talk about diversity! In an age where most farmers by their genetically modified seeds from corporations like Monsanto year after year because Monsanto doesn't allow farmers to save their seeds, it delights me to know that traditional, sustainable, and organic methods of seed saving still happen in our country.

seed savers.jpg

A nice variety of fruits and vegetables!

2 Comments

Seed banks are vital for the future. Not to mention that they are a great source for delicious and helpful varieties of food plants that are not otherwise available. Many heirloom varieties of vegetables are only available from seed banks and their importance to gardens is tremendous. You've already found some of the main reasons that we gardeners have to continue to save natural varieties of seeds.

Agriculture has become as big a business as any other corporate entity and their genetic modifications are harmful in so many ways. Did you know that some corporate seed companies have genetically modified their seeds to last only one generation? This can be devastating to many small or family farmers who used to be able to save seeds and cut production costs.

The list of reasons to save seeds can be a lengthy one. The good news is that it's a growing trend again. Hope you'll be starting your own seed collection!

Great article.
Brigid - www.theperfectmirror.net

Ever since the article that we were assigned by Vandana Shiva I have been very intrigued by her work. She is a very smart woman who I could listen to speak about different topics for hours. I love hearing about the things she has done all around the world by just speaking and raising awareness about food and water. Since that article I have since read and watched so much of random stuff about and by Shiva that I really regret not knowing of her earlier so that I could have seen her when she visited campus. Anyways, this was a very interesting post and I enjoyed reading it because of the reasons that I listed. She makes everything sound so simple with whatever she is preaching about that it seems that all of the world's problems with food and water should be null and void around the world. I think that if she had more authoritative power that everyone would benefit. Besides the obvious fact of what she stands for and talks about, I really like the fact of how she is a very well known doctor, and being a female Indian woman says a lot about her. I guarantee she has had to face her fair share of adversity and yet she has made it to where she is to this day.

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This page contains a single entry by Ellen published on October 30, 2010 7:40 PM.

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