Preservation

 

While holding seeds in our hand when planting, we cannot comprehend the amount of history contained in the seeds, both of what has come before and what is to come.

So why is it important to preserve heirloom seeds?

Seed preservation was the first skill by which humans developed agriculture and transformed from hunter-gatherer societies toward a settled existence, and enabled mankind to pursue different aspects of human existence that brought about technological advancement.

For decades farmers have been growing their favored varieties threw all corners of the world, Passing seeds from generation to generations.  Modern crops are derived from thousands of years of selective breeding where varieties were chosen for their unique ecological adaptability and their ability to ward off pests and diseases. Specific genomes in heirlooms that make them resistant to droughts, diseases and pests are inherent in seeds that have evolved with their surrounding environments. The seeds require little inputs like pesticides or fertilizers since they are part of the ecosystem.

 

The genetic diversity of our food is rapidly dwindling, we are seeing seeds that have been around for thousands of years literally go extinct.  Once the plants are extinct, we can never get them back.

The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) revealed that 75% of agricultural genetic diversity was lost in the 20th century alone.

We face the unthinkable problem of how we will grow food for survival in the future. When hybrid seed is used in monoculture methods, whether it is corn, tomato or cucumber, their genes are very similar unlike their ancient, open-pollinated relatives. Because of the similarity of the gene pool, the same pest, disease or weather condition can decimate entire crop fields. Genetic erosion leaves our food production at risk to the increasingly common infestations that we see by pests and diseases. Some of the most devastating infestations to large-scale agricultural crops were resolved by searching out heirloom seeds known to be naturally resistant to that particular infestation. Without these heirloom varieties, crop devastation is possible and almost certain.