Throughout history, humanity has recognized the importance of seeds.
Seeds have been cherished and revered worldwide. They have always been one of the first commodities traded when people met from diverse communities. Seeds encapsulate plant genetics that are profoundly valuable to all of civilization. The crops produced by the seeds are among our most valuable commodities both nourishing our kids and giving us the tools to maintain our health and strength. It’s no wonder that the word ‘seed’ bears the additional meaning of anything that is a source of creation!
The development of seeds over the last 5 decades has reflected much of what is wrong with modern life. Seeds, which used to be developed by farmers and public institutions, are now developed by corporations with the goal of maximizing their profits, frequently at the expense of public interest. Today 3 corporations own more than 50% of commercial seed supply worldwide, and just 10 corporations own almost 75%.
Fortunately, there is a worldwide movement to take back our seeds.
The National Organic Standards Board, which oversees our national standards for Organic, is requiring the use of organic seeds in organic food production more every year. Sometimes people are surprised that this hasn’t been mandatory, but so far it’s been deemed an unfair economic disadvantage to farmers because supply of the varieties they need to be competitive have not always been available. With more and more organic availability in the seed world, 100% organic seed is fast becoming a realistic goal.
Seeds have been bred for the last 50 years to withstand ever-increasing amounts of pesticides and fertilizers but now with the support of the organic community they can be developed with the traits that organic growers and organic systems require. This is exciting and will be an important tool for organic farmers to develop their specific systems with genetics that support them.
Another exciting development is, since the recent passage of Measure M, which banned the growing of GMOs in Sonoma County, we now live at the southern end of what has come to be a huge GMO free growing region stretching from Marin County all the way up to Mendocino County, and even stretching into Oregon’s Jackson County. This area covers 13,734 square miles, and will protect us from the ever-increasing insanity of GMO seed development for profit.
The seeds we use today are the result of countless farmer’s selection over a period of thousands of years with an eye to nutrition and health. We are grateful to them!