Friday, January 27, 2017

Seed Freak

I am a seed freak. I love planting seeds, watching plants grow and reading about how to propagate different seeds. I know the difference between open and closed pollination. I know the difference between seeds from hybrid and heirloom plants. I also love seeds because they are fun to look at, rub in your hands, add to collections in glass bowls and for photography.  I also love and respect science and scientists and do not blame them for what I write below.



Seeds are important for the survival of all life. Humans depend on seeds for food, medicine, and unknown inventions and solutions to mankind's future problems.




Climate change will impact the growth of plants and the production of seeds.  Seeds were originally here as the earth was formed and evolved slowly and naturally. Next farmers hybridized seeds to make evolution more controlled and faster or they moved plants into different areas. Then big business came along with their scientists and laboratories and created GMO seeds and then claimed they now own those seeds. Today a handful of companies own the global seed supply.




While that might be concerning it is additionally concerning that 93% of seeds have been lost in the last 80 years. Those are the seeds that might have had a genetic resistance to some global epidemic of a virus, or fungus or resistance to flooding or drought. We now have the technology to implant that feature, but the seeds with the DNA are gone, gone, gone.  Read about the potato famine in Ireland to better understand why that is important.




According to one source "If you were alive in 1903, you would have been able to choose from more than 500 varieties of cabbage, 400 varieties of peas and tomatoes, and 285 varieties of cucumbers. Eighty years later in 1983, the varieties had dwindled sharply, to just 28 varieties of cabbage, 25 varieties of peas, 79 for tomatoes, and just 16 varieties of cucumbers."



"the Big Six chemical/seed companies [Monsanto, Bayer, Dow, Syngenta, DuPont and BASF] have increased their cross-licensing agreements to share genetically engineered traits, strengthening the barriers to entry for smaller firms that don't have access to these expensive technologies."




In an executive meeting with Monsanto executives, Anderson consultants described Monsanto's goals as a world with 100 percent of all commercial seeds genetically modified and patented. It appears they are almost there. As a result seeds are now pretty expensive and there are criminal laws against seed propagation for many seeds.

I posted this because I was at a recent gardeners' seed swap for the public where commercial and non-commercial seed were available for trade and to give away along with a presentation on how to save and propagate seeds.  It happened at the local public library.  This has to be carefully done insuring that no GMO/hybrid seeds are included unless they are in the original commercial package and that no seeds are sold!

USDA cracked down on one library years ago that was not careful in their seed bank collection and they were required by law to destroy their entire library of seeds as this could lead to "seed terrorism."  They were violating a 20o4 seed act.  This is what happens when we let big business take over entire industries and care only about profits.  One wonders what grannie would say when she was told she could not propagate her favorite flowers.

13 comments:

Studio Maywyn said...

Great post
I understand the right to a patent, but once that plant is out in the open, then it should be fair game to non-commercial growers. Going after a library sale is probably necessary for possible problems with commercial growers, set a precedent thing. I don't understand how they can insist, though, a library's seed library be destroyed unless all the seeds are tested to prove they are patent protected. I haven't read the seed legislation, but I hope it stipulates any patents must save the original not patented seeds.

Granny Annie said...

I am ashamed that I did not learn more about this before Ron died. He was very knowledgeable of seeds, etc. I was just a silly city girl.

Marie Smith said...

Another concern for those of us concerned about climate change. Our world is in desparate shape on so many levels. It's hard to stay positive.

messymimi said...

This is disturbing on many levels.

Marcie said...

I posted about seeds today too... though much more superficially. Yours is a wonderful post.

joared said...

I have been aware of what the companies were doing relative to seeds -- just as some have been quietly buying water rights all over the world -- simply for a monopoly which should concern us all -- but -- I had no idea it had reached this level with the numbers you've provided. Your seed library information very troubling to say the least.

Red said...

I admire somebody who becomes an expert on a topic like seeds. There's much good stuff to learn about seeds.

The Furry Gnome said...

Very well said, and very interesting seeds!

ellen abbott said...

we have lost so many varieties because people stopped growing their own food and started depending on commercial growers. and the GMO thing is very bad. long term studies have shown horrendous side effects of consuming the poisonous produce. and for those that don't understand the difference is genetically modified and hybridized...genetically modified happens in a laboratory by injecting DNA from different species into the DNA of the plant. hybridizing is cross pollination from different varieties of the same species. it is something that can occur naturally. genetic modification will never occur naturally.

Snaggle Tooth said...

Thanks for explaining where they all went! GMO grain seems to be used in many products at the store these days. How can farm seeds be owned by patent? I've always used previous garden season seeds... It's silly not too!

Bob Bushell said...

Stunning seeds, bad news Monsanto.

kerrdelune said...

Could not agree more, Tabor, and what the big six seed companies are doing is criminal.

Mage said...

I'm speachless by the seed terrorism. The photographs are wonderful. The acts are criminal....all done as if Trump mandated this.