The reasons you need heirloom seeds!
The loss of genetic seed diversity facing us today may lead to a catastrophe far beyond our imagining. The Irish potato famine, which led to the death or displacement of two and a half million people in the 1840s, is an example of what can happen when farmers rely on only a few plant species as crop cornerstones. One blight wiped out the single potato type that came from deep in the Andes mountains; it did not have the necessary resistance. If the Irish had planted different varieties of potatoes, one type would have most likely resisted the blight. We can help save heirloom seeds by learning how to buy and save these genetically diverse jewels ourselves.
One kind of seed, called First generation hybrids (F1 hybrids), have been hand-pollinated, and are patented, often sterile, genetically identical within food types, and sold from multinational seed companies. A second kind of seeds are genetically engineered. Bioengineered seeds are fast contaminating the global seed supply on a wholesale level, and threatening the purity of seeds everywhere. The DNA of the plant has been changed. A cold water fish gene could be spliced into a tomato to make the plant more resistant to frost, for example. A third kind of seeds are called heirloom or open-pollinated, genetically diverse jewels that have been passed on from generation to generation. With heirloom seeds there are 10,000 varieties of apples, compared to the very few F1 hyprid apple types.
The Mayan word “gene” means “spiral of life.” The genes in heirloom seeds give life to our future. Unless the 100 million backyard gardeners and organic farmers keep these seeds alive, they will disappear altogether. This is truly an instance where one person–a lone gardener in a backyard vegetable garden–can potentially make all the difference in the world. Here are sources for finding heirloom seeds from seed saving organizations. These organizations represent a movement of several thousand backyard gardeners who are searching the countryside for endangered vegetables, fruits and grains.
I sincerely hope that if you plan on planting vegetables at any point in the future you bookmark this page and use the resources below to purchase your seeds. I believe with out heirloom seeds the future of what you eat is no longer in your hands. I personally always have a large stash of seeds on hand, just in case I need to provide food for my family that is safe and chemical free.
I challenge each of you to think outside the box when it comes to seed collection. Dry beans from the grocery store work well, just make sure they were not irradiated. Sprout a few seeds to make sure they are not to old. Beans are very easy and very good protein to feed a hungry family.