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Sowing the future

Posted: Fri Apr 22, 2011 11:08 am
by Radu
Now that I am getting ready to plant some more things in the garden I realise the following could potentially give a different perspective to others as well. It is related to saving money and resources in general something that interests me ever since I came across in a book that I don't remember the title of that money is concentrated sun light and the use of it is more vital than oil which again is a form of concentrated sun energy. Currency might be the most concentrated and so it's circulation now interests me more from this point of view. How to make sure the money goes where it is needed most? But it's also about learning from using less. For one I decided to refrain from spending money on anything of which's source I don't know or consider a negative use of the sun's energy. I've started dumpster diving but this is not really what I am very proud of since it's something that should be out in the open about how the flawed food system is working, not hidden behind the supermarket in the night. I see through dumpster diving a way of "buying" the people's silence about the waste but I intend to bring it more into the open. On that some other time.

The decision that most of you just starting a garden this season or the next could be interested in was the following: not to buy any seeds for the garden area I now have for this season. Being a first time "seed to crop" gardener (I have been working on various gardens for years but always moving) I had to stump on my ego telling me that I could grow anything and realise that maybe I won't be able to handle some of the plants I had in mind of growing. I might put allot of energy (be it sun, concentrated sun as in money or just body calories) in something that might not in the end provide even the equal amount of that energy. So not buying any seeds it was. Not buying anything for the garden actually even though wanting to plant some seedlings feels a bit too much to make some nice growing soil from scratch. And scratch I do. I scratch for seeds anywhere I go.

So far I can recommend the following sources of seeds for the first time gardner:
- relatives and friends (I got my first and quite a few types of seeds from my grandparents who are subsistence farmers and save their seeds year after year);

- acquaintances as well as neighbours (it's always an important topic to bring up once the conversation dries out, you having a garden and looking for local seeds that might grow well in the local environment avoiding to buy seeds of which's origin or production you don't know - if you have no seeds to swap as I did just mention you will save the seeds at the end of the season and share them with either your "lender" or with anyone else interested in having a garden);

- freecycle or facebook group dedicated to giving and receiving things for free (seeds are not just things to be given or taken as objects but such platforms still work for getting a large amount of seeds and if you mention that seeds are indeed teeming with life urns than people would not get the wrong idea);

- seed swaps (I went to Brussels to interview people regarding the current seed situation in Europe moving closer and closer to monopolisation of multinationals and had the surprise to end up in maybe one of the biggest seed swamping events of Europe for the season. Again I had no seeds with me to swap but the organisations that had stands there invited people to take the seeds anyway and plant them since they had an abundance of those assortments so I ended up going back home with a few varieties of corn I've never seen before);

- wwoofing or volunteering in exchange for seeds (I was traveling for more than 2 years in Europe on different farms volunteering in exchange for board and lodge but also small things like seeds which most eco villages, small farms, subsistence house holds have so don't be ashamed to ask for some since most places usually have extra of these and some might even operate as local seed banks. Just don't save the seeds while tramping around without using them because seeds are best planted the next year after harvesting);

- local guerrilla gardening groups (sometimes they order a big amount of seeds of which some will do better in clay balls than others, like poppy for example and outlining that to them could get the seeds in the right place instead of trapped somewhere with no chance of germinating but also since lots of guerrilla gardeners are urban based and would like to have a garden or see one they might offer you some seeds just from solidarity as well as be enthusiastic about joining any work projects you might have on the plot);

- local community gardens (again, I got to one state financed here in Luxembourg because I wanted to do an interview but you could just as well visit them for an afternoon. Mention what seeds you are missing and you might end up leaving with more than just contacts of like minded people but also the seeds you were missing. Community gardens can be either state owned, privately by a group of individuals or on squatted land and in all of them I encountered very friendly and generous people.);

- dumpster diving (I have yet to come across seed packets in the dumpster but I haven't done it much in garden supermarkets yet which I will soon, but I did find so far lots of potted basil plants along with watercress or flowers).

And so, even though my garden is still missing strawberries and topinambours which I would have liked to have in there I am happy not to have paid anything yet on the garden and will stick with it until next season when I would have known the life cycle of each plant I've seeded this year. Starting with this year I will also save all the seeds I can to close the circle and create a cycle. I might just as well go traveling and not settle down again but the seeds will find their way into someone else's garden. Just look above at all the people that made it happen! They would be happy to see their seeds returning, I'm sure!

In any case this decision of not buying seeds even though it seems as a paradox at first, made me look more into the importance of seeds and their role in the food sovereignty movement. Because I couldn't just buy the seeds and hope for the best I had to research on what type of seeds are there and where and that made me more aware of the monopoly that corporations such as BASF, Syngenta, Monsanto to name a few are trying to impose through legislation thanks to their professional lobbying so for me this idea is not first and foremost a money saving idea but one that made me more aware of certain topics. That's why I decided to post this message here instead of in the "money saving idea" thread.

I would in turn also recommend to you some sources from which you can find out more about this situation:

MOVIES - We feed the world
- Solutions locales pour un désordre global
- David versus Monsanto

ARTICLES: - ... 92419.html
- ... crops.html
- ... -seeds.php

WEB SITES: ... umaux.html - Kokopelli is a French association that is being sued for patent infringement