Before the invention of farming, humans were hunters and gathers. We migrated in search of life. Migration dispersed seeds and made it possible for plants, fruits and crops to grow all over the world. Seeds carry within itself new life, nourishment, initiation, reproduction and abundance not just for the human race but for all ecosystems.
Seeds play such an essential role in the survival and evolution of this planet. They contain high levels of protein, and everything necessary for the development and growth of our world. Over the past years we’ve seen a decline in seeds and natural food diversity.
The decline of humans growing their own food and the growth of industrial agriculture, has unfortunately played a big role in the disappearance of many seeds. When humans began farming, we were growing a variety of species. We understood that the more species a crop had the higher the chances of survival and evolution over time.
In order for crops to survive and feed future generations, humans needed to have access to a variety of species. More species makes it possible for farmers to engage in crop rotation, which essentially helps return nutrients back to the soil, interrupts pest and disease, and creates biodiversity on the farm. Humans understood the laws of nature and also acknowledged that nature could be harsh and unpredictable, therefore it was always important to cultivate diversity to improve the health of the land and its ecosystems.
With the industrial revolution and new farming technologies, farmers slowly began dismissing the importance of diversifying crops. As more farmers started focusing on one crop production, the importance of cultivating crop rotation disappeared. Consequently, seeds, animals and plants slowly began to vanish. Scientist began experimenting with seeds by genetically modifying their DNA in hopes that they would improve harvest. Without complete and full understanding, agriculturist began conducting selective breeding of crops while ignoring the basics of genetics. The original genetic defense of the seed was eliminated though the modification of its DNA, eventually eliminated the original seed.
Food Security for the Future
The answer to creating food diversity lies in the seed. Even though majority of the seeds that existed thousands of years ago are no longer available, there are seeds that have been passed down from generation to generation for almost 100 years called heirloom seeds.
Groups and individuals who are aware of the decline in seed diversity have created online seed exchange sites in which you can buy and trades seeds. Seed exchange has both environmental and culture implications. Saving and exchanging seeds allows individuals to take control of their food supply and rely less on stores for food. Seed exchange also allows for culture to continue to exist as knowledge, beliefs, language, values, customs, and traditions are passed from generation to generation just through food. Saving and exchanging seeds protects plant genetic diversity, the more diversity in species the higher the chances we have as humans to evolve. Seeds are essential to our survival, the survival of food that nourished us and sustains us.
Here are some practical solutions to help us save the future of food.
- Explore growing food a home. Look for alternative solutions such as growing food inside your home if you live in small spaces
- Grow from organic seeds
- Save any of the seeds from your crops for the next season
- Save seeds from current organic fruits/vegetables you eat instead of throwing them away
- Exchange seeds and plants with family, friends and neighbors
- Store seeds for long term use in envelopes and plastic zip bags. Try to place seeds in cold closets, a basement or freezer. Another technique is placing seeds in clay pots/containers and digging them under the earth, this can keep seeds fresh for up to 10 years