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Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Why Seed Libraries Matter and What You Can Do to Help...

Control oil and you control nations.
Control food and you control the people. 
~Henry Kissinger

There has been a lot of stories in the news on the issue of large corporations gaining interests in the global commercial seed markets.  Currently, three companies hold patents on 53% of the seed markets.  There is a growing movement to patent seeds and this includes an attempt to patent heirloom varieties.  

Heirloom seeds are the ones that have been passed from generation to generation between gardeners and farmers.  These are plants that have developed in an open-pollinated manner and will produce seeds that can be planted to get a plant like the parents.  Vastly different from hybrid seeds which cannot be saved from season to season - they must be purchased anew every time you wish to plant. 

Gardeners tend to be resourceful and some have gotten together to create seed libraries.  A seed library is an organized service where gardeners can "borrow" seeds, grow them, save the seeds and return them to the library for other gardeners to grow too.  It is an excellent way to preserve our heirloom garden heritage.  It is also a good way to foster a sense of community.  

Recently, the news has aired stories of seed libraries being "outlawed" in some areas.  The point in question is the way some states' Department of Agriculture view seed sharing.  Some states require a license to distribute seeds and those licensed must comply with certain regulations.  By the regulations, the seeds must be labeled correctly and meet certain germination rate standards.  

When you are buying seeds from a company, I can understand why you would want to know that kind of information on your purchase.  But, if your neighbor was sharing some seeds with you over the backyard fence, would you expect the same information?  

Of course, there are some good points to a level of regulation.  Invasive plant species can and do cause a lot of problems.  So in the planning of a seed library, how will you control for that?   I'm going to stay informed on the issues as the debate continues.  The source I will follow is Seed Libraries Daily and I urge you to stay informed too.  

At this time, I haven't been able to find any seed libraries in my state but I would love to start one.  Is there one in your state?  (Seed Library Locator Map

If you are interested in getting involved in the debate, consider reviewing a petition to the Departments of Agriculture and sign it if is seems reasonable to you.  

Growing your own food is an important part of caring for your own health, safety and security.  Let's preserve it...

I'm so glad you were able to join today and I hope to see you again tomorrow.  I'll be sharing ways I use the mint I grow in my garden and also how I use peppermint essential oils.  :)

Peace be with you, 

Star Schipp 

This post may contain affiliate links which means if you make a purchase using one of those links, I may receive compensation at no extra cost to you.  It is a great way to support your favorite hobby farm blogger.  Thank you!    

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