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From Culture to Eco-Culture – Saving Seeds, Growing Roots

by Nicole Wines

For the next ten days, leading up to Vandana Shiva’s Fortnight of Action for Seed Freedom, Raíces Eco-Culture will be posting articles, instructions, personal reflections, information and resources on seed saving. This will be the launch of some serious work on establishing and expanding the Raíces Eco-Culture Seed Library. Saving seed is the most immediate action anyone can take for seed freedom and food sovereignty. We have begun, with the help of friends, volunteers, neighbors, community gardeners, and we invite you to join us too, in saving and sharing seed.

Seeds hold the future. A little soil, water, sun and love and they produce countless benefits for us, the earth and all the creatures, seen and unseen, that live in and around each plant that grows from a single seed.

What does culture have to do with seeds and seed saving and why would a cultural center start a seed library initiative? At the root of the word culture is to cultivate. Culture is about growing. By saving our seeds, we preserve a heritage of growing. We can preserve our past in a seed, continue to grow it year after year, and save it for future generations. We can cultivate our own food, and nourish our community and the environment around us.

Bean seeds ready to shell

Bean seeds ready to shell

From a seed grows roots, which need to be nourished to support the life of all the insects and microscopic beings in the soil, “all the little people” that live down there who in turn support the life of the plant and not to mention ourselves and our planet. Saving our seeds, we connect our plants to our own cultural roots, preserving the heritage and history of our food and taking back control from the consumer based food industry that is destroying biodiversity, our health and the environment.

We can also learn about the cultures of our neighbors and friends through the food we share from the seeds we saved. Food is culture and what better way to grow and explore different varieties and types of food than from seed that we produce, preserve and share ourselves.

Seeds donated by the Hudson Valley Seed Library

Seeds donated by the Hudson Valley Seed Library

But there is no culture or sharing without community, and in order to make strides towards creating a local and regional seed library, we need to continue to grow, share, trade and acquire new members of our seed saving group. So we will use this forum to educate and share resources leading up to next month’s Fortnight of Action for Seed Freedom, and ask you to take action with us and start saving seed. Hopefully our group will grow and we can inspire some of you from our community to take the simple steps to start saving seed yourself!

If you are interested in being a seed saver with the Raíces Eco-Culture Seed Library group, register to join our group here and we will be in touch to get you your first seeds for next season and any additional resources you will need! Whether or not you join our group, if you are inspired to start saving seed, check our blog daily over the next ten days for new posts with information, ideas and resources.

“Seed is the first link on the food chain. Saving seeds is our duty, sharing seeds is our culture.” ~Vandana Shiva