Recognizing the growing global threat to the diversity, integrity and sanctity of seeds, we would like to honor a few of the organizations which have taken significant steps to protect seeds and to preserve our rights to save seeds.
The Seed Savers Exchange www.seedsavers.org, based on Heritage Farm in Iowa, is dedicated to preserving heirloom garden seeds, keeping them available, unpatented, and unmodified. They maintain “thousands of heirloom garden varieties, most having been brought to North America by members’ ancestors who emigrated from Europe, the Middle East, Asia and other parts of the world.”* Their collection has been developed from freewill donations from farmers who share not only the seeds, but also their stories—who brought them from where, who tended them, where they grew, under what conditions. In addition to maintaining these seeds and their stories at Heritage farm, SSE makes regular deposits to the Global seed bank in Svalbard, Norway, where seeds from all over the world are kept safe for future generations.
You can buy seeds from them online, through their catalogue or through selected retailers. You can get advice on starting a community seed library. And you can join their membership and learn how to save and share your own heirloom seeds.
United Plant Savers www.unitedplantsavers.org focuses on saving wild medicinal plants. With the resurgence of interest in herbal medicine, some of these plant medicines have become endangered by overharvesting for commercial use and many are threatened with extinction through loss of habitat. The mission of UPS is “to preserve, conserve and restore native medicinal plants and their habitats of the USA and Canada, while ensuring their abundant, renewable supply for future generations.” They sponsor a network of botanical sanctuaries—land dedicated to restoring habitat for wildlife. Their website offers advice on how to create these sanctuaries and lists land consultants who are expert in helping landowners get started. UPS also encourages the organic cultivation of medicinal plants and their re-introduction back into native habitats. Through their website you can learn about the wild medicinal plants and find a wide range of classes and workshops in herbal medicine. You can became a member, receive some seeds of medicine and be part of this vital effort—healing for the people and the land!
High Mowing Seed Company www.highmowingseeds was the pioneer among the small but growing number of seed companies dedicated to selling only seeds that are organic and completely free from genetic modification. They led the way for over 70 seed companies to sign the “Safe Seed Pledge,” a commitment to sell only non GMO seed. The pledge begins: “agriculture and seeds provide the basis upon which our lives depend. We must protect this foundation as a safe and genetically stable source for future generations…”
High Mowing demonstrates their dedication to future generations by donating seeds to thousands of education farms and gardens, believing “seeds are an investment in our future.”
Seed Freedom seedfreedom.info , works to educate us on the impact of GMO seeds and correlated toxic soil and plant treatments, and it advocates for “fair and just distribution of seeds.” Saving seeds and sharing them, as many of our ancestors did for untold generations, seems like it should be a basic human right. And to remain true to its ancient evolutionary intelligence as encoded in its DNA seems like a natural right of the seed. Unfortunately large corporations try to manipulate, monopolize and patent seeds and curtail the rights of individuals and communities to save and share seeds.
“The Global Movement for Seed Freedom is a network of individuals and organizations committed to align our thoughts and actions with the laws of Gaia, Pachamama, Vasundhava, Mother Earth…we protect the biodiversity of the planet by defending the freedom of the seed to evolve in integrity, self organization, and diversity.”
On their website you can join the movement and you can sign the “Declaration of Seed Freedom”
GMOFree USA www.gmofreeusa.org
GMO Free USA advocates for sustainable food and ecological systems. Their mission is to harness independent science and agroecological concepts to advocate for sustainable food and ecological systems. They educate consumers and other stakeholders about the potential hazards of genetically engineered organisms and advance the application of the Precautionary Principle. Their vision is to see a world where we have full disclosure of what is in the food we eat and how it is produced. To see a world whose food and ecological systems are clean, accessible to all, and fully protected from GMO contamination. To see the private, governmental and public sectors follow the Precautionary Principle (as defined by the UNESCO COMEST 2005 Report).
and here's another salute to the Seed Saviors already mentioned in our newsletters:
Green Friends Farm www.greenfriendsfarm.org
Global Peace Initiative of Women www.GPIW.org
Organic India www.organicindia.com
Sierra Seeds www.sierraseeds.org
*(quotes are from the websites of the respective organizations)