seeds in communities
Seeds are keys of evolution. They are the heart of renewal, fertility, regeneration. Without seeds capable of reproducing true-to-type plants year on year the grand symphony of evolution start to lose the vital notes it needs to play on. And yet over the last 100 years we have lost more than 75% of food seeds our ancestors passed on to us over 11,000 years of agricultural life. Presently 95% of seed market in Europe is dominated by 5 companies. Apparently they are groping for the golden keys to lock the food market and control us by having the seeds captive in the companies gene pool.
Our seeds are not only captive in corporate gene banks, the hybrid seeds have stopped evolving year on year , in a sense locked in time. What does this mean? Listen to this brief explanation by Ben Gable from Real Seeds Company about what happens to the evolution of seeds when they enter the chain of hybrid production.
So avoid hybrid seeds like cancer. Fortunately nature has the best design and solutions when the subject is fertility, reproduction, life. Open pollinated seeds are nature's way of breeding seeds (as opposed to man's forced in-breeding or cross genetic manipulations). This is the method our ancestors used to breed seeds and passed them from a generation to the next. Open pollinated seeds fed and nurtured humanity for over 11,000 years and now they stand at the edge of disappearing from the book of evolution. At the same time they hold a vital key to unlock the doors and barriers separating us from one another while guiding us to live from a higher state of being human - a state of fearless abundance and generosity ( I will come back to this soon).
I think one way we can enable the seeds to remain in the grand book of evolution and recover from the near-fatal-loss they have suffered in the last century is to bring them back to the heart and hearth of communities where they belong. How? Seed-saving has been a sacred art and practice in agrarian cultures. Seeds were celebrated, appreciated and held with care and mindfulness for cycle after cycle of sowing.
Now we don't live in the context of agrarian culture and many of us don't have the intimate touch with earth for growing food. And yet a culture of seed-saving will most certainly connect us with the very heart of fertility, renewal, and regeneration in nature.
Seed-saving has given me the pleasure and joy of connecting with the cycles of nature, with the plant kingdom, and with other-selves in my community and beyond when we exchange the seeds we've saved. By seed-saving and seed-swapping we keep the fire and life force of seeds alive.
An annual seed-swap event in each community grounds the seed-saving rites. It provides the time and space for people to exchange their harvest of seeds and connect around this vital life-force. I used to hold an annual seed-swap event in Forest Row on the 1st Saturday in February and March for 7 years. Fascinatingly the event generates a life-force of its own, and the annual rhythm helps people to prepare for it.
Seed-swaps are becoming wild-fires in many communities. The biggest event in the UK takes place in Brighton on Seedy Sundays, the 1st Sunday in February every year. The Cambridge Seed Swaps are attracting thousands of visitors and seedy people. Wakehurst Botanical Gardens have organised a few seed-swaps, taking place right above their seed-bank, the largest in the UK. And seed-swaps has become a resilience movement under the umbrella of Transition Towns.
So wherever you are, take a look at the plants and vegetables growing around you. There is something vital we can each do to change the story of seeds, of the disappearing, the rapidly vanishing seeds. What if we took to seed-saving? What if we heard the voice of the plant-kingdom about us, and understood the call for help from the seed spirit? What if we rose to our potential as co-creators, save and swap seeds widely in our communities and beyond, until the diversity and generosity nature thrives in returns to each community seed-bank. Wouldn't this be a new story inviting us to live in a state of fearless abundance and generosity? Wouldn't the return of the seeds to our communities be a worthwhile legacy to leave for generations to come?
The resources to bring the seeds back are out there at our fingertips. Now it is up to us to bring the seeds back where they belong, to the heart and hearth of communities.
Some Seed Links:
Real Seeds: http://www.realseeds.co.uk/
Open Pollinated Seeds : open-pollinated-seeds.org.uk
Seed Freedom : http://seedfreedom.in/
Ben Gable talks about hybrid seeds
Peter Brinch talks about open pollinated seeds