Winter Radish Seeds
While reading Barbara Kingsolver's new book, Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: A Year of Food Life
, I found myself stumbling over this statistic: "Modern U.S. consumers now get to taste less than 1 percent of the vegetable varieties that were grown here a century ago."
And this: "Six companies -- Monsanto, Syngenta, DuPont, Mitsui, Aventis, and Dow -- now control 98 percent of the world's seed sales."
Does anyone else find this alarming?
My effort to save more seeds from the garden this year was driven by one part curiosity, one part frugality, and one part defiance against the way big corporations are running our food system. What happens when seed ownership falls into the hands of fewer and fewer people? We lose flavors and nutrients, we lose plant and wildlife diversity, we lose knowledge of what's in our food and how it's produced. We get genetically modified soy, canola and corn, and cheap high fructose corn syrup.
Red Russian Kale Seeds
Kingsolver's book gave me hope, as she and her family chronicled their year of eating local and homegrown food. They didn't go hungry, they didn't go broke, and it sounds like the entire family discovered many beautiful things along the journey. Their eloquently told story, with intermissions of seasonal recipes
, made me want to do more to connect with food and food traditions. I want to grow my own asparagus, make cheese, and taste a turkey that wasn't born in a test tube. For simpler starters, I'm making a commitment to buy more heirloom vegetable seeds and saving seeds from the garden.
Here lie the seeds of future meals. I know saving seeds is just one small gesture, but it gives me hope. It's hope not to lose more beautiful things in this world, before we even realize what's missing.