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A Seed Saved is a Seed Earned

By Shannon Brescher Shea

Swapping items is far more rewarding when you feel that you’ve produced the very items you’re swapping. There’s an inherent sense of pride in it, knowing that someone wants to now own something you’ve made. Although it seems odd to think of plant seeds as being “human produced” outside of agricultural laboratories, even ordinary gardeners can save their own seeds. Although I failed to save them last year – and I wish I had, especially our heirloom tomatoes – the process itself isn’t very complicated.

Beyond the matter of simple pleasure of DIY, saving seeds is also good for society as a whole. Most of the produce available in the grocery store comes from only a very limited number of breeds within any given plant species. These monocrops present both ecological and social problems. Ecologically, having a lack of genetic diversity makes our food supply quite vulnerable to various pests and diseases. If there’s only one or two breeds of a major crop, there’s less of a chance for mutations to exist in the plant population that could potentially counteract a devastating fungus or other infestation.

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