Seed Keepers by Lee-Ann Hill

Seeds are the source of life on earth; they keep us alive. Why save seeds? The answers are varied and often personal, yet there is a shared essence. For some, this is expressed through the desire to grow our own food and save the seeds of the food that we grow to complete and continue the cycle. Others may be preserving a favorite crop or seed for fear it may disappear from the seed catalogues and seed racks, which does indeed happen. Some preserve seeds to save money and some seed keepers save particular seeds simply for their beauty and aliveness.

Many people are concerned about corporate control of food and seed, an alarming trend exemplified by the proposed merger of Bayer and Monsanto. Research shows threats to our health through genetically modified seeds and food are very real and deeply disconcerting. The increasing corporate control of seed has resulted in a loss of diversity; over the past century, 93% of our seed diversity has been lost.

Others seed protectorsarepreserving cultural heritage, which is readily expressed through food customs,whichare dependent on traditional seeds thatare often unavailable in the marketplace.And some seed stewardsare interested in the inherent intelligence of seeds to grow and adapt compatibly with their landscapes.

Regardless of the reason, seed saving connects us to time and place: past, presentand future. Seed saving connects us to each other, to family heritage and to community traditions.It connects us to story, which is essential to who we are, but too often lost in the age of mass informationand the fast pace of technology and social media.To know who we truly are,as individuals, family membersand community, we need to know where we came from; we need to know our stories. And our stories involve seeds somewhere in our own heritage. While we may be too removed from our own ancestral stories to bring them back, we can create new ones.

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