The seeds that feed us

By Cody Hooks
chooks@taosnews.com
Posted 5/30/19

Every bite of food starts with a seed.Seeds are fascinating buddels of magic. At one time, seeds for the crops we eat were as diverse as the people who grew them, and …

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The seeds that feed us

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Every bite of food starts with a seed.

Seeds are fascinating buddels of magic. At one time, seeds for the crops we eat were as diverse as the people who grew them, and they were handed down between families and among neighbors and travelers passing through. This is the heart of "seed saving," an old practice that's getting new attention.

Instead of harvesting every last ear or corn or pumpkin, seed savers let some of the fruits and vegetables keep growing to the end of the season. Then, they carefully clean the seeds, dry them out and store them in cool, dark rooms, where the seeds rest until the following spring when it's time to be planted again.

Keeping seeds this way -- instead of buying them from the hardware store, for example -- means that the seeds already know how to grow best in the local conditions.

"Growing and sharing local seeds is more critical now than ever because of climate change," said Nan Fischer, owner of Sweetly Seeds in Taos.

"Local seed is acclimated to local conditions, but those conditions are now unpredictable. I think seed savers need to collect seed from the hardiest plants that made it through the worst and widest variety of weather events," Fischer said.

Seed savers are sharing their precious collections at seed libraries around the country, even right here in Northern New Mexico. Formal "seed libraries" are located at the public libraries in Questa and Dixon, and a seed exchange is set up at the Habitat for Humanity ReStore.

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