As the Bear’s garden embarks on our seed saving project as a counterbalance to big agribusiness and their insistence on ‘owning’ seeds and outlawing seed saving, community gardens want to put in our two cents.
Humans have been in the seed saving and dispersal process ever since we knew how to cultivate and propigate plants so just because Monsanto tells small farmers they can’t save their own seeds because Monsanto’s genetically modified seed dust might have blown into neighboring farms strikes me as ridiculous and unfair.
Why doesn’t Monsanto do a better job controlling the wind so it doesn’t blow their seeds and seed particulates everywhere? Have a sit down with the zephyrs and Zeus and lay out where the winds can blow. (Though I kid who knows what they’ll do.)
You can’t have a discussion about seed saving without talking about the value of native plants in our urban landscape.
To bring us closer to understanding how grassroots efforts can have a place in this seed saving movement, I knew we needed to take a trip to the Greenbelt Native Plant Center out on Staten Island.
We met with the director of the seed saving program, Heather Liljengren, who walked us through some of what goes into saving seeds from various plants. So you may use a blender for berries (make sure you tape up the blades), but plants with a tiny seed, you’ll have to rub those out of their husks.
Diversity is what native plants bring to our city landscape. The previous Bloomberg administration passed a series of “green laws” one of which promotes the plantings of native plants across the city. One of the interesting features of this law is that use of “non-native plant species should information establish that said species presents a threat to new york city public landscapes” may be prohibited (Int. No. 399).
Certainly community gardens can play their part in conserving native species and fighting back the invasive non-natives (no matter how much we like them), and I want our BANG land trust to be a part of this movement.