Friday, April 3, 2009

Seed saving and sharing

A mindful opinion piece in India's Business Standard, Latha Jishnu rallies awareness for the potential threats to Iraqi farmers in the aftermath of reconstruction and the passage of Order 81, a seed patent law that also prohibits Iraqi farmers from saving and reusing any of their own seeds. Resting on the historical soil of the "‘fertile crescent’ of Mesopotamia where man first domesticated wheat more than 8,000 years ago," Iraq is home to many varieties of seeds stemming from centuries of seed development and exchange. A reported 97% of farmers in Iraq use their own seeds, but, according to Jishnu, indigenous seeds will not survive under Order 81.

In observance of the hardship that seed patents and regulations can place upon farmers and the future of organic food, the Institute of of Near Eastern & African Studies has designated April 26 as International Seeds Day, a worldwide effort to get the word out on "patent-free seeds, organic food, and farmers' rights."

In a personal effort to support the right to save and exchange seeds, it is definitely worthwhile to check out WinterSown, an educational non-profit organization dedicated to the cost-saving germination method of winter sowing. WinterSown also encourages seed saving and trading. They are even willing to share a 6-pack of their seeds with you, for free.

While it may be too late in the year to attempt winter sowing, a pack of shared seeds is certainly a great way to recognize the right to fresh, organic food in a personal and economical way.

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