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Global Crop Diversity

August 19, 2010

This is a public service announcement and doesn’t include any pictures or inane ramblings about gourds.

OK, so Russia looks like it is closing one of the largest seed sustaining operations in the world to make room for {{cough}} an apartment complex. The Pavlovsk Experiment Station isn’t a “vault” or “seed bank” like this new Svalbard monster in Norway that looks like it could be Dr Evil’s lair.

Not all plants species can be preserved by freezing and sorting their seeds deep in a tomb somewhere near the arctic circle; some, including most fruits and berries, actually have to be sustained in controlled living nurseries generation to generation. This is what Pavlovsk is- a living nursery and growing station for thousands of unique fruit and berry species(?) or varieties.

So why does cohutt care?

Genetically modified and hybrid seeds have brought us higher yielding crops tailored to “modern” industrial farming practices. However, there is more than just a hint of evidence that modern farming practices aren’t sustainable in the long run.

The seed banks and the whole seed saving movement as promoted by organizations like Seed Savers Exchange (see link in lower right column) are important defense mechanisms to the unintended consequences of the increasing percentages of GMO crop plantings worldwide.

I’m of the opinion that we can’t contain nature; a diverse and actively managed seed stock is insurance against our own cleverness in the agricultural and genetic sciences.

I’m not a greenie tree hugger type (I drive 8 cylinder vehicles) but I am somewhat educated in risk management and therefore believe that this organization is on to something. The green movement gets under my skin in a lot of ways BUT I do agree I probably am concerned with many of the same things, but often for different reasons.

So read a bit and see what you think; consider supporting this if it makes sense to you.

The Global Crop Diversity Trust

(Not that I am optimistic that signatures on a petition will change the Ruskies’ minds. Uh, send money instead?)

By the way, the US is the “bread basket of the world”, right?

Uh, not exactly anymore.

The US is a net importer of food now. When we became a net importer of oil back in the 70s it really didn’t concern us all that much did it? We’d work it out, right? How complicated and divisive has our foreign policy become in the 35 years since?

If we get as worked up as we do about our oil supply, how do you think we will we react when it comes to our food supply?

Just sayin….

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