The Art of growing from Seed
What is happening to our food supply? Modern-day farming and food production looks very different from models of the past. With all the talk on GMOs and globalization, growing your own edibles has become the norm these days, with more and more people home gardening. So being aware of the impact that synthetics have on our environment is a must. Using chemical substances in the garden isn't necessary, going organic is ultimately a better choice for you, your family and the community. When starting out from seed in your home garden, seed-packet labelling can be confusing, especially if you are unsure of the difference between a hybrid seed and a GMO seed. To make it a little easier, I have defined the different types of seeds available on the market today.
A GMO seed is a hybrid seed that has been produced in a lab using high-tech methods. These seeds have been injected with animal DNA, plant DNA, viruses and bacteria, in order to make these seeds drought and disease resistant. The process crosses biological kingdoms, which has never been done before to our food.
Hybrid seeds are cross-pollinated usually out in the field using low-tech methods. A cross of one male and one female plant are chosen to make the best offspring. This sometimes happens naturally in nature. Hybrids tend to be a one-hit wonder, they do well the first year but not so well in subsequent years. They're high maintenance, as they require more water and fertilizer than open pollinated seeds.
Open-pollinated seeds, are created out in nature by the birds, the bees and the wind. They are Mother Nature's way, wild and free. They perpetuate bio-diversity and natural selection.
Heirloom seeds, are passed down from generation to generation in a family or community. They are always open-pollinated seeds, chosen for their superior quality and flavor. Although their real magic is in the stories behind them. Full of nostalgia, they take us back to yesteryear and teach us about the history of our food from cultivation, to harvest, to the table. Like a good piece of furniture or jewellery, they can stay in a family for decades.
Open Pollinated Sunflower Seeds
Open Pollinated Tulsi and Sangoveise Seeds
GMO Seeds and Their Issues
GMOs are a problem. The agricultural techniques used to cultivate these crops wreak havoc on the environment. Along with the GMO ‘superseed’ grows a ‘superweed’ that has become resistant to the herbicide 'Roundup' developed and used to suppress them.
HOUSTON WE HAVE A PROBLEM. It has been reported that the resistant weeds can grow an inch a day, reproduce quickly and grow stems thick enough to damage farm machinery. They have successfully grown and multiplied in the corn belt, middle America region and are quickly moving across to the East Coast. You would think that to wage war on these ‘superweeds’ a different approach would be incorporated back into the modern agriculture model. It appears, though, that most farmers are trying to deal with this weed plague by adding more synthetic herbicides to the crops to control the weeds. Science has proven that using good ole fashioned, ecological methods such as crop rotation, cover crops, mulch and compost livestock manure, would reduce the amount of weeds effectively and the use of herbicides by 90 percent.
Monsato's Empty Promises
Monsanto’s invention promised farmers cheaper methods for a better crop yield. Huh, really? They over promised and under delivered BIG TIME. So much so, that the final cost of GMOs and the destruction that comes with them, is going to cost us a lot more than just a few dollars. A wildlife genocide has taken place quietly in the background from the over use of herbicides and pesticides. Colony Collapse Disorder is a prime example. Human health is being affected by the synthetics used in our food production. The environment has taken a beating, with some irreversible harm done to our lands and our oceans, too. Animal welfare is at stake and has not been taken into consideration at all. Using GMO seeds and the chemical support that comes with them, do not align with the good of mankind or Mother Nature. In short, sustainable ecological practices protect the environment, humans, wildlife, and the community, something for all of us to think about. Awareness is key and to cease to support conglomerates like Monsanto who are attempting to control our food source is vital to our planet's future.
A Bumble Bee Polllinating a Sunflower
Worker Honey Bees pollinating Fennel Flowers
Globalization has paved the way for the introduction and availability of more diverse foods to many areas around the globe. There are a few concerns raised by this new phenomena. Firstly, food travels for longer and from farther to get to us and so is not as nutrient rich by the time it reaches our doors. Nothing beats local, in season fresh fruit and vegetables, not only fiscally but also in flavour, this is evident with the uprise of the model ‘agrihoods’ of Detroit and the national surge of urban farming and home gardens. Eating fresh, local produce, at affordable prices, is now more accessible than ever.
Secondly, cultures whose customs, traditions and identity lie in their traditional dishes, may be lost in the next generations exposure to globalization and fast foods. When family and friends come together to eat, the stories told at the dining table and the people you share them with, is what makes the mealtime meaningful. To lose the warm and fuzzy elements around family mealtimes and traditional celebrations, would make us all like solo robotic eating machines. 'The Twilight Zone' can be fun to watch but unnerving when it comes to our food.
Family Dinner in Greece Celebrating a National Holiday
Growing an organic garden made with your hands makes you a Garden Artisan! Who doesn't want that title?
Pollinators need us to bring balance back into our local ecosystems. Find out what grows wildly and freely in your area and cultivate some of those plants. Encourage your community to plant local wildflowers in public parks, green spaces, schools and community gardens.
The seeds we plant today, make the world of tomorrow. If you would like to learn how to grow from seed, please visit my page starting out from seed.