Seed Diversity and the Community Seed Network
At the end of May we celebrated the UN International Day for Biological Diversity! This day also marked the grand launch of the Community Seed Network which is an initiative of The Seed Savers Exchange, USC Canada and others that came together to create an online platform for resources and information on seed saving, sharing and networking.
This platform can be found at; http://www.communityseednetwork.org/
The Community Seed Network is invaluable for the promotion and cultivation of seed saving. Considering the fact that, with each year that goes by, we are losing more cultivars of edible plants than ever before. Not only are we losing the cultivated varieties within a species but we are losing species themselves through not cultivating them
With a lack of seed diversity we are narrowing our food bank in which we rely on regular withdrawals of essential nutrients. Not only that, with a trend towards a lack of biodiversity and reduced food varieties across farms we are creating undue pressure on agro-ecosystems. This pressure results in higher susceptibility to pest and disease damage, reduced resiliency in the face of climate change and a risk of losing culture and tradition associated with certain types of food.
Historically, farmers participated in a free exchange of seed. With reciprocity, cooperation and fairness – knowledge, ideas, cultural tradition and heritage was shared as well. This of course still happens today with a small cluster of amazing small scale farmers working really hard to maintain and value natural and just processes. However, the freedom of seed is being threatened by property rights and has been transformed into a commodity monopolized by corporations.
“Seeds are a gift of nature, past generations, and diverse cultures. It is our inherent duty and responsibility to protect and to pass seeds on to future generations. Seeds are the first link in the food chain, the embodiment of biological and cultural diversity, and the repository of life’s future evolution” – Manifesto on the Future of Seed, Vandana Shiva et al.
Take some steps in maintaining and increasing seed diversity! Visit the Community Seed Network website to be inspired and to get your hands on some unique seed you can maintain in your garden. Support your local farmers and ask questions about their seed.