“Seed is not just the source of life. It is the very foundation of our being.” - Vandana Shiva
If the name Vandana Shiva doesn’t ring a bell, you probably don’t know jack about why saving and sharing seeds from your organic produce is the ultimate act of rebellion against the corporatocracy. No matter. Just know that this food fight is anything but a frivolous venting of teenage high spirits. In fact, with California’s drought worsening and threatening crops, and Monsanto scoring big in legal battles to continue privatizing nature, the timing couldn’t be better. If you eat, this fight is your fight. Consider yourself enlisted.
Dressed in her beautiful saris and signature bindi, physicist, author, ecofeminist and seed activist, Dr. Shiva hardly looks the revolutionary. But spend a few minutes in her company – there are plenty of videos to choose from – and she will make a powerful case for why you absolutely must 1. Support your local organic farmer and grow what food you can sustainably and 2. Save your seeds – see links below on how to do that – and/or start a small seed-sharing circle. The goal is nothing less that long-term food security and reclaiming your rights as a world citizen. It is food democracy that benefits everyone in the food chain.
“We need to build the direct relationship between those who grow the food and those who eat it. Care for people has to be the guiding force for how we produce, process, and distribute our food…We need to shift the paradigm of economics to measure the well being of people not the profits of the oligarchs.”
Shiva’s organization, Navdanya, is a network of seed keepers and organic producers across 16 states in India. It has helped set up 54 community seed banks across the country, and has trained half a million farmers in sustainable agriculture. According to Dr. Shiva, these actions were also aimed at stemming an epidemic of farmer suicides as farms and livelihoods were lost to Big Ag’s invasion of India.
Maybe farming isn’t in your blood or your future. Perhaps converting a patch of your lawn into a vegetable garden isn’t your thing. Don’t expect an automatic deferral. You can still be a part of the support corps, carefully conserving seeds from your produce — easy in the case of squash, pumpkins, melon and peppers – and a little more challenging with tomatoes. Tip: just cut a small section from the next great organic tomato you eat and put it in a pot to sprout. More specifics from Organic Gardening. Organic potatoes and sweet potatoes give you a clue about what to do next by sprouting conveniently in your vegetable bin. Plant one in a pot and follow these directions from Container Gardening.
All of this seems pretty mild mannered as revolutionary action goes, although you may encounter some strong resistance from HOA’s that love pouring your money down the drain (into the water system) to maintain large expanses of grass, or communities hell-bent on upkeeping standards of conformity. (Backyard chickens, hold the fort.)
You could waste a lot of time fighting city hall. So here’s one of my favorite weapons of grass destruction: the seed bomb. These come in many forms – balls of clay embedded with seeds and organic fertilizer, eggs filled with the same, and seed pills, all the above in miniature. These little projectiles are perfect for challenging locations, “spontaneous floral attacks,” and vegetable gardening below the radar. You can carry a seed bomb (or pill) in your pocket and launch an attack of edible landscaping in the least expected public places. Think of this as a time-bomb that does some good in the world. Sneak back for the harvest, if you dare.
*Seed bombing is a technique of introducing vegetation to land by throwing or dropping compressed bundles of soil containing live vegetation (seed balls).
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