Tag Archive | seed saving

Learn to Save Seeds from Your Food Garden

seedHow to Save Seeds, Monday June 26 , 6 to 8 p.m.
Garfield Park Lodge, 334 Burton St. SE, Grand Rapids 49507. Free!

 

Did you know that when you grow organic or heirloom varieties in your food garden, you can save the seeds to start new plants the next growing season? In addition to growing your garden budget, growing from saved seeds ensures a produce yield that is more nutritious and tastier.

Also, from a food justice perspective, saving seeds is activism for promoting seed freedom, food sovereignty and standing with Mother Earth and the environment.

Come and learn exactly how to save seeds from all different types of food plants — and help build an alternative to the failing industrial food complex. OKT also has a free hand-out on seed-saving. Download it here.

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Learn “How to Save Seeds”

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How to Save Seeds, Monday May 22, 6 to 8 p.m.
at Garfield Park Lodge, 334 Burton St. SE, Grand Rapids 49507. Free!

Did you know that when you grow organic or heirloom varieties in your food garden, you can save the seeds to start new plants the next growing season? In addition to growing your garden budget, growing from saved seeds ensures a produce yield that is more nutritious and tastier.

Also, from a food justice perspective, saving seeds is activism for promoting seed freedom, food sovereignty and standing with Mother Earth and the environment.

Come and learn exactly how to save seeds from all different types of food plants — and help build an alternative to the failing industrial food complex. OKT also has a free hand-out on seed-saving. Download it here.

seed_freedom_declaration

Learn how to save seeds tonight!

seedHow to Save Seeds
6 to 8 p.m. at Garfield Park Lodge
334 Burton St. SE, Grand Rapids 49507

Did you know that when you grow organic or heirloom varieties in your food garden, you can save the seeds to start new plants the next growing season? In addition to growing your garden budget, growing from saved seeds ensures a produce yield that is more nutritious and tastier.

Come and learn exactly how to save seeds from all different types of food plants — and help build an alternative to the failing industrial food complex. OKT also has a free hand-out on seed-saving. Download it here.

This is the fourth in a series of four OKT food gardening classes. We are offering the whole series again in June. Classes meet from 6 to 8 p.m. at Garfield Park Lodge, 334 Burton St. SE, 49507

  • Deanna 1 June 6: How to Plan Your Food Garden 1
  • June 13: How to Plan Your Food Garden 2
  • June 20: Composting & Vermiculture
  •  June 27: How to Save Seeds

The classes are free and open to the public. Donations are welcome from those who not being served by our other programs.

If you would like even more support for your food garden, OKT is is still cruiting 20 residential food gardeners for the 2016 growing season. OKT has free gardening resources for you if you:

  • Live within our four target neighborhoods (SECA. Baxter, Eastown or Garfield Park).
  • Are pregnant or have children eight-grade or younger.
  • Have challenges that limit your access to healthy food.
  • Have health challenges that can be addressed by growing your own food.

Resources include organic food plants, seeds, soil, containers, soil resting and a food garden coach. Email OKTable1@gmail.co for information.

Learn how to save seeds for next year’s food garden

“Seed is the first link in the food chain. Seed is the ultimate symbol of food security. Free exchange of seed among farmers has been the basis of maintaining biodiversity as well as food security. This exchange is based on cooperation and reciprocity.”From Seed Freedom: A Global Citizens Report,coordinated by Navdanya

1236462_657749657569146_1000651918_nOur Kitchen Table food garden coaches will facilitate a free workshop “How to Save Seeds,” 6 to 8 p.m. Monday May 23 at Garfield Lodge, 334 Burton St. SE, Grand Rapids MI 49507.

The workshop will address the importance of saving seeds and methods for saving different varieties. Participants will will not only learn a variety of ways to save seeds but will also discuss the importance of non-GMO/heirloom seeds.

This is the fourth in a series of four food gardening classes that OKT is offering this year. The series will repeat, same time, same place, in June as follows:

  • June 6: How to Plan Your Food Garden 1
  •  June 13: How to Plan Your Food Garden 2
  •  June 20: Composting & Vermiculture
  • June 27: How to Save Seeds

Seed Swap and Potluck

Let’s save plant diversity–and save money! The Greater Grand Rapids Food System Council invites all area resident gardeners to meet for a Garden Gathering, Seed Swap and Potluck, 5 p,m. Saturday, Oct. 25 at the Grand Rapids Child Discovery Center, 409 Lafayette S.E 49503. Bring your organic,heirloom or non-gmo seeds and trade them with other local gardeners. The event also includes a potluck, so bring a dish to pass (if you can) and your own place setting.

“I am looking forward to swapping some of my seeds with fellow gardeners, says event organizer, Leslie Powers. “Also, I am excited to connect with people who are also saving seeds and to educate others about the importance of plant diversity and how saving our seeds accomplishes that.”

Leslie also notes that by swapping, you don’t have to buy a whole package of seeds when you only need a few for limited garden space. RSVP to Cynthia Price, skyprice@gmail.com  or (231)670-6059.

Seed Saving Workshop at Well House Sept. 30

“Seed is the first link in the food chain. Seed is the ultimate symbol of food security. Free exchange of seed among farmers has been the basis of maintaining biodiversity as well as food security. This exchange is based on cooperation and reciprocity.”From Seed Freedom: A Global Citizens Report, coordinated by Navdanya

1236462_657749657569146_1000651918_nOctober 2 is the kick-off date for Navdanya‘s Fortnight for Seed Freedom and Food Freedom, a global action being promoted by internationally acclaimed seed warrior, Dr. Vandana Shiva. One way we here in the Grand Rapids can participate is by learning about saving seeds.

We are fortunate to have experienced seed-savers among us. Two of them work as urban farmers at Well House, Jeff Smith and Camilla Voelker. They will be facilitating a Seed Saving Workshop 6 p.m. Monday September 30 at Well House, 600 Cass SE in Grand Rapids.

The workshop will address the importance of saving seeds and how to save them. Participants will will look at a variety of ways to save seeds and discuss the importance of non-GMO/heirloom seeds.

To sign up for this workshop, please contact Well House at 616-245-3910 or contact@wellhouse.org. Well Houses asks  for a donation of $20 per person, but also offers scholarships so that money will not be a barrier for people to sign up. The money raised from Well House workshops is used to sustain its urban gardening projects.

 

The Seed Emergency: The Threat to Food and Democracy

This article by Vandana Shiva is re-posted from ZNet and GRIID.

The seed is the first link in the food chain – and seed sovereignty is the foundation of food sovereignty. If farmers do not have their own seeds or access to open pollinated varieties that they can save, improve and exchange, they have no seed sovereignty – and consequently no food sovereignty.

The deepening agrarian and food crisis has its roots in changes in the seed supply system, and the erosion of seed diversity and seed sovereignty.

Seed sovereignty includes the farmer’s rights to save, breed and exchange seeds, to have access to diverse open source seeds which can be saved – and which are not patented, genetically modified, owned or controlled by emerging seed giants. It is based on reclaiming seeds and biodiversity as commons and public good.

The past twenty years have seen a very rapid erosion of seed diversity and seed sovereignty, and the concentration of the control over seeds by a very small number of giant corporations. In 1995, when the UN organised the Plant Genetic Resources Conference in Leipzig, it was reported that 75 per cent of all agricultural biodiversity had disappeared because of the introduction of “modern” varieties, which are always cultivated as monocultures. Since then, the erosion has accelerated.

The introduction of the Trade Related Intellectual Property Rights Agreement of the World Trade Organisation has accelerated the spread of genetically engineered seeds – which can be patented – and for which royalties can be collected. Navdanya was started in response to the introduction of these patents on seeds in the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade – a forerunner to the WTO – about which a Monsanto representative later stated: “In drafting these agreements, we were the patient, diagnostician [and] physician all in one.” Corporations defined a problem – and for them the problem was farmers saving seeds. They offered a solution, and the solution was to make it illegal for farmers to save seed – by introducing patents and intellectual property rights [PDF] on those very seeds. As a result, acreage under GM corn, soya, canola, cotton has increased dramatically.

Threats to seed sovereignty

Besides displacing and destroying diversity, patented GMO seeds are also undermining seed sovereignty. Across the world, new seed laws are being introduced which enforce compulsory registration of seeds, thus making it impossible for small farmers to grow their own diversity, and forcing them into dependency on giant seed corporations. Corporations are also patenting climate resilient seeds evolved by farmers – thus robbing farmers of using their own seeds and knowledge for climate adaptation.

Another threat to seed sovereignty is genetic contamination. India has lost its cotton seeds because of contamination from Bt Cotton – a strain engineered to contain the pesticide Bacillus thuringiensis bacterium. Canada has lost its canola seed because of contamination from Roundup Ready canola. And Mexico has lost its corn due to contamination from Bt Cotton.

After contamination, biotech seed corporations sue farmers with patent infringement cases, as happened in the case of Percy Schmeiser. That is why more than 80 groups came together and filed a case to prevent Monsanto from suing farmers whose seed had been contaminated.

As a farmer’s seed supply is eroded, and farmers become dependent on patented GMO seed, the result is debt. India, the home of cotton, has lost its cotton seed diversity and cotton seed sovereignty. Some 95 per cent of the country’s cotton seed is now controlled by Monsanto – and the debt trap created by being forced to buy seed every year – with royalty payments – has pushed hundreds of thousands of farmers to suicide; of the 250,000 farmer suicides, the majority are in the cotton belt.

Seeding control

Even as the disappearance of biodiversity and seed sovereignty creates a major crisis for agriculture and food security, corporations are pushing governments to use public money to destroy the public seed supply and replace it with unreliable non-renewable, patented seed – which must be bought each and every year.

In Europe, the 1994 regulation for protection of plant varieties forces farmers to make a “compulsory voluntary contribution” to seed companies. The terms themselves are contradictory. What is compulsory cannot be voluntary.

In France, a law was passed in November 2011, which makes royalty payments compulsory. As Agriculture Minister Bruna Le Marie stated: “Seeds can be longer be royalty free, as is currently the case.” Of the 5,000 or so cultivated plant varieties, 600 are protected by certificate in France, and these account for 99 per cent of the varieties grown by farmers.

The “compulsory voluntary contribution”, in other words a royalty, is justified on grounds that “a fee is paid to certificate holders [seed companies] to sustain funding of research and efforts to improve genetic resources”.

Monsanto pirates biodiversity and genetic resources from farming communities, as it did in the case of a wheat biopiracy case fought by Navdanya with Greenpeace, and climate resilient crops and brinjal (also known as aubergine or eggplant) varieties for Bt Brinjal. As Monsanto states, “it draws from a collection of germ-plasm that is unparalleled in history” and “mines the diversity in this genetic library to develop elite seeds faster than ever before”.

In effect, what is taking place is the enclosure of the genetic commons of our biodiversity and the intellectual commons of public breeding by farming communities and public institutions. And the GMO seeds Monsanto is offering are failing.  This is not “improvement” of genetic resources, but degradation. This is not innovation but piracy.

For example, the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA) – being pushed by the Gates Foundation – is a major assault on Africa’s seed sovereignty.

Agribusiness

The 2009 US Global Food Security Act [PDF] also called the Lugar-Casey Act [PDF], “A bill to authorise appropriations for fiscal years 2010 through 2014 to provide assistance to foreign countries to promote food security, to stimulate rural economies, and to improve emergency response to food crisis, to amend the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961 and for other purposes”.

The amendment to the Foreign Assistance Act would “include research on bio-technological advances appropriate to local ecological conditions, including genetically modified technology”. The $ 7.7bn that goes with the bill would go to benefit Monsanto to push GM seeds.

An article in Forbes, titled “Why Uncle Sam Supports Franken Foods”, shows how agribusiness is the only sector in which US has a positive trade balance. Hence the push for GMOs – because they bring royalties to the US. However, royalties for Monsanto are based on debt, suicidal farmers and the disappearance of biodiversity worldwide.

Under the US Global Food Security Act, Nepal signed an agreement with USAID and Monsanto. This led to massive protests across the country. India was forced to allow patents on seeds through the first dispute brought by the US against India in the WTO. Since 2004, India has also been trying to introduce a Seed Act which would require farmers to register their own seeds and take licenses. This in effect would force farmers from using their indigenous seed varieties. By creating a Seed Satyagraha – a non-cooperation movement in Gandhi’s footsteps, handing over hundreds of thousands of signatures to the prime minister, and working with parliament – we have so far prevented the Seed Law from being introduced.

India has signed a US-India Knowledge Initiative in Agriculture, with Monsanto on the Board. Individual states are also being pressured to sign agreements with Monsanto. One example is the Monsanto-Rajasthan Memorandum of Understanding, under which Monsanto would get intellectual property rights to all genetic resources, and to carry out research on indigenous seeds. It took a campaign by Navdanya and a “Monsanto Quit India” Bija Yatra [“seed pilgrimage”] to force the government of Rajasthan to cancel the MOU.