The seed saving movement is growing. Communities are banding together to save and share heirloom and open pollination seeds that are in danger of disappearing off the face of the Earth as a result of industrialized agriculture and multinational corporations that control the majority of our seed supply.
The documentary “Open Sesame: The Story of Seeds” by M. Sean Kaminsky seeks to inspire people about the importance of seed saving—and its urgency.
When you save seeds, you’re joining a chain of farmers, gardeners, and seed enthusiasts that dates back to the Stone Age—our civilization literally arose due to seed saving.
Early humans selected the best wild plants with which to feed themselves, and passed those varieties along to others by saving and sharing seeds.
Seeds are the foundation of life, from fruits and vegetables to grain and livestock feed—without them, we have no food. It’s estimated that upwards of 90 percent of our caloric intake directly or indirectly comes from seeds.
Age-old heirloom varieties are disappearing at an alarming rate—90 percent of the crop varieties grown 100 years ago are already gone. The Millennium Seed Bank Partnership estimates that 60,000 to 100,000 plant species are in danger of extinction.
Why Seed Saving Is So Important
Four of the most important reasons to save seeds are the following:
- Seed Security: By saving your seeds, you control your seed and therefore your food supply—you aren’t depending on seed stores or catalogs for difficult to find seed. Hundreds of excellent plant varieties have been discontinued as big corporations have consolidated the seed industry and focused on more profitable varieties. Half of the vegetables grown today have no commercial sources—you have to get them through seed trades.4
- Regional Adaptation: Most commercially available seed has been selected because it performs fairly well across the entire country if given synthetic fertilizers. But when you save seed from your own best performing plants, on your land and in your own ecosystem, you gradually develop varieties better adapted to your own soil, climate, and growing conditions.