Heirloom seeds and biodiversity

I mentioned in my last post that most of the seeds sold and/or exchanged at Seedy Sunday were heirloom ones.  You may wonder what is meant by that. In general, heirloom seeds are defined as old, open-pollinated cultivars. In other words, these seeds were introduced before the 1950s and when planted they should grow 'true to type.'

Up until the 1950s, most farmers in the Global North tended to save their seeds from one season to the next. Many farmers in the Global South continue to follow this practice though there are strong pressures, the world over, from biotech companies such as Monsanto, to push farmers to buy new genetically modified and patented seeds. Reknown environmental activist and scientist, Dr. Vandana Shiva has been tirelessly arguing for the preservation of seeds amidst the pressures brought forward by the biotech corporations. The following short video illustrates the reasons why preserving heirloom seeds, in India and all over the world, is key if we want to create a sustainable food security system dedicated to the health of the planet and its inhabitants.