By Guest Writer, Hillie Salo
Responsible Consumers: Seeds are the Starting Point, Think About It!
True awareness about what is on your plate begins with the first link in the food chain: the seed that creates the plant, flower and finally the fruit.From Seeds According to Slow FOOD
USA Slow Food’s Plant a Seed is a wonderful program, introducing young people to the exciting world of growing your own food and peeking their curiosity with joyful new flavors. Next step is to give them tools to face the challenges of climate change.
That is what One Seed One Community aims to do, by encouraging folks to save and share seeds. Each year, a Bean has been chosen from the Ark of Taste for the community to grow and complete life’s circle from seed to seed.
Saving seeds over a period of time can lead to adaptation to the environment in which they were grown. Beans have been shown to present signs of adaptation over a period of just three growing seasons. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5372509/#!po=9.57447
This year OSOC has spread to various places in Northern and Southern California. Seed Libraries and many Slow Food members in
San Louis Obispo
and others are leading the charge in saving the Cherokee Trail of Tears bean. https://www.fondazioneslowfood.com/en/ark-of-taste-slow-food/cherokee-trail-of-tears-bean/
An individual gardener’s gene pool of a plant variety often is not more than what can be held in the palm of the hand. A very small gene pool indeed! Seed Libraries are a community project that gives the community access to a diverse gene pool. As well, they can give low income, first time and community gardeners the potential to bring fresh healthy food into their lives.
In the circle, Seed Libraries make seeds available, and the community grows and returns seeds to have a fresh stock of seeds available every year. Seed Libraries need community support in returning seeds. More often than not more seeds are taken than returned. OSOC invites the community to Save a Row for Diversity! to replenish our Seed Libraries. This year we are saving the Cherokee Trail of Tears Bean.
Slow Food chapters across the state may consider reaching out to their local Seed Library to start a One Seed One Community project for next year. Each chapter could challenge their membership to commit to raising so many pounds, maybe 2 pounds, 5,10,15, 25 pounds to donate to their local Seed Library and other community groups. Perhaps a school garden…
If you send your beans out to the community, and they are returned and grown again, we are well on our way to building a local diverse seed stock and food security. Local food begins with local seed. Seed the local Revolution!
Do you have a suggestion for next year’s bean?