What is a Seed?

By Jen Frey What is a seed? This seems like a simple question. A seed is the reproductive part of a plant. It is what we IMG_2727plant in the ground and from which a plant grows.

However, if we look a little deeper, a seed is much more. A seed itself can be food. Music and art can be created from seeds. A seed can be medicine. Many cultures incorporate seeds into their healing ceremonies. A seed can be jewelry. Seeds are currency.

Dig even deeper and we see that seeds are hope, potential, and life. We plant this little being in the ground and from it springs Life. We hope that our efforts will be rewarded with the Plant of our desires. A seed represents abundance. We plant 1 zucchini seed and from it grows a plant with many zucchinis, each having hundreds of seeds. This seed is hope that we will have food to eat or medicines to harvest.

In our abundant, global society, it is often easy to forget the incredible importance of seeds. We can buy nearly any kind of food that we desire at almost any time of year. Of course, this was not always the case.IMG_2649Our ancestors planted their seeds, hoped for a good harvest year, and saved all that they could to feed them throughout the winter. A shortage of food could cause starvation and death. They, of course, saved the best seeds to plant the following year. Seeds were the ultimate savings account.

Not only did saving seeds portend survival, they also allowed for freedom. Rocio Alarcon says 1,000s of years ago, seeds were the passports. If we had seeds, we could carry our food with us. We knew that wherever we landed, we could grow our food. Thus seeds carry the history of humans. We can trace who brought the seeds and plants to new lands, which hints at the importance of certain plants for different cultures.

There are stories of people being forced to leave their homeland under harsh conditions, unable to take IMG_1887their belongings, and yet, they grabbed their seeds. They knew their survival was based on the seeds. How have we forgotten this?

There has been a silent war happening. Companies, such as Monsanto, are trying to obtain a seed monopoly. Along with this is the desire for monoculture and the loss of the great biodiversity of seeds. It was once a source of pride to have unique tomatoes or corn. As I said, the best seed was harvested and saved. But it was really more than this. Seeds were collected from a plant with the quality that was most desired; maybe this particular plant weathered the drought or maybe the flavor of the fruit was sweeter. As this practice continued, families and regions amassed the seeds that fit their environment and desires. Now, if the large seed companies have their way, everyone, no matter the region, will grow the same seeds. What is the special quality of these seeds? They can handle the large amounts of pesticides needed to grow them.

Fortunately, there is a growing number of farmers, gardeners, consumers, and seed companies who refuse to accept this. They are remembering the preciousness of each seed. How special the unique qualities of biodiversity. Thank goodness for this, for our very life is dependent on our seeds. Maybe we can live in a sterile, monotone world. But I prefer to live in a world that is filled with the different colors, smells, and tastes of biodiversity. I prefer to live in a world where the Sacred in all things is honored, even in the tiny beings of Seeds. For if one needs proof of miracles, look at the precious acorn. From this very tiny being, comes the great Oak.

I am learning that the more we can recognize the preciousness and sacredness of seeds and other beings, the easier it becomes to recognize the sacred within ourselves. For let’s not forget that seeds also have a mythical life. They relate to our dreams. When we want something, we plant a seed. What seeds are you planting?photo 1 (7)