Two years ago my uncle gave me some heirloom seeds of his; they were brown crowder field peas. These were seeds passed down from his family for 2-or-3 generations. I’ve been growing them ever since, and I plan to grow them for the rest of my life. They are prolific.
What is the fuss (and benefit) about saving heirloom seeds. Well, back in the 1980’s large corporations in America began to patent seeds for large-scale profit. These patented seeds - called hybrids - are what dominate the market today. Consequently, the open-pollinating variety of seesd (heirlooms) are disappearing off the shelves and being replaced with hybrids.
Hybrid seeds are Genetically Modified (GM), which means they are not natural or organic. They have been chemically altered and mass produced by corporations (such as Monsanto) because they are easy to grow, the vegtable travels well, doesn't ripen too quickly, has harder skin, and doesn't bruise on transit. They are treated with anti-fungal chemicals, laced with pesticides, irradiated with ionizing radiation, and the seed are dyed pink, orange, or green, etc.
The fact that the vegetable tastes like cardboard doesn’t matter. Profitability does.
Some people are fighting back. Myself included. I am determined to save open-pollinated heirloom seeds and swap them with other like-minded people. Plant-diversity is the key to safety and health, not to mention better tasking food.
Just this week I spoke to another uncle who told me about having to buy watermelon seeds that cost $500 per pound. Sure, they made large melons but the seeds within the melons were sterile, meaning you couldn’t use them for replanting. Instead, you’d have to re-buy GM (genetically modified) seed the following year, making yourself more dependent upon the corporations for food while continuing to eat the GM poison they put into your system.
By saving your own heirloom seeds, you are taking back control of your food and ensuring that your vegetables are GM free.
I think I would like to get involved in a seed-trading community.