Why Saving Heirloom Seeds Is So Important

Why Saving Heirloom Seeds Is So Important

Seeds are vital for life on Earth, but times for seeds have been tough lately. Luckily, though, there is still time to change course through simple actions, like saving heirloom seeds.

The growing challenge

Despite their critical role, seed health and diversity have been declining.

  • Up to 94% of vegetable seed varieties have disappeared in the last 80 years.
  • Large companies have patented seed varieties in numerous countries, preventing farmers from saving and reusing those varieties.

For the curious: The documentary “Seed: The Untold Story” outlines the issue and provides solutions and hope for the future.

Why seed diversity and heirloom seeds are so important

When it comes to seeds, quality and quantity are essential.

And at the top of both lists are heirloom varieties that are adapted to their indigenous landscapes.

Having a colourful diversity of heirloom seeds enables:

  • Genetic variety. Cross-pollination increases the genetic variety of edible plants, making them more resilient and adaptable to changing environmental conditions, diseases, and pests.
  • Food security. Seed diversity ensures access to many types of highly nutritious plants – not all varieties are created equal!
  • Food sovereignty. Access to seed varieties allows people and farmers to choose to save seeds and grow their own food at home.
  • Unique flavours. Many heirloom varieties have deep ties to culture and place, providing signature flavours and dishes that make people feel at home.

How seed savers help

Seed-saving programs protect against the depletion of seed varieties. Seed banks and seed exchange organizations are popping up worldwide, created by farmer alliances, individuals, non-profits, and governments.

Get involved

Want to get involved? Here are three key actions you can take:

  1. Grow seeds
  2. Save seeds
  3. Share seeds

By saving, growing, and sharing heirloom seeds, you can preserve biodiversity and protect priceless plant varieties for current and future generations.

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