I recently did an interview on seed saving with an emphasis on quality on The Survival Podcast with Jack Spirko. He does a different kind of podcast, what I call a “thinking persons preparedness” show. There is much more of the everyday, common sense preparedness approach; that of being ready for a severe weather event, a loss of power for a short period of time or a traffic tie-up on the freeway and how to get through them with less drama and a higher level of comfort and security.
One major item for rational preparedness folks is gardening, as being able to provide food for yourself and your family or neighbors is a big thing. Not only in a disaster event, but if the power goes out or if there is some reason that the supermarket near you can’t be stocked for a few days, being able to enjoy good food is very powerful. Sure, a person can survive on MREs (officially known as Meals Ready to Eat, but we knew them as Meals, Rarely Edible in the Navy), but that is a very short term “survival” approach as you can’t grow them and they aren’t very healthy for extended periods of time. They were designed as combat rations where a person was getting maybe 1 – 2 hours of sleep a night, moving constantly with a lot of equipment on them and under the continual stress of combat. In these conditions, you really do need each and every one of those 3,750 calories that 3 MREs provide. Many of the folks I knew would eat 4 – 5 a day while in active combat conditions!
Seed saving is very popular today, but there are some gaping holes in much of the information and knowledge today. The techniques of seed saving are being addressed, with little attention given to the foundational quality of those seeds. Saving seed is fairly simple to do, but the results from planting those seeds can be very mixed; without a basis of understanding of seed quality, people can be disappointed and confused as to why they got the results they did.
I show why there are no one-size-fits-all best solutions to the availability of quality seed. A resilient, robust and diverse seed and food economy requires home gardeners, regional and national seed exchange programs to participate alongside independent seed companies to contribute all of their unique advantages and skills. Only in this way can the full expression of the diversity and adaptability of open pollinated seeds be realized and utilized.
Listen to the Seed Saving for Quality Interview for the full story! Jack does an introduction that is about 14 minutes long, if you want to skip directly to the show. This was originally an article in Acres USA January 2014 edition, and has been developed into a presentation and will be taught as a class later this summer.