Getting Native

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.

Seed cleaning machine

Seed cleaning machine

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.

Diversify

Diversify

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.)

Fields of gold

Fields of gold

You can’t have a discussion about seed saving without talking about the value of native plants in our urban landscape.

Not a daiquiri

Not a daiquiri

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.

Service berry seeds at your service

Service berry seeds at your service

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.

Seeds for the future

Seeds for the future

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).

Native plants buffet

Native plants to order

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.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s