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A Guide To Long-Term Seed Storage

A Guide To Long-Term Seed Storage.

This article was contributed by Humble Seed

Seeds are living things. For that reason, you have to treat them as such. Just like any living creature – exposure to too much cold, heat, sunlight – even moisture – can kill their essence. In fact, as a general rule, any 1% increase in moisture can mean seed life is cut in half. Knowing more about long term seed storage will ensure their viability when you need them most, and can guarantee a never-ending food supply.

Remember that the only seed that can produce another fertile seed are non gmo seeds, non-hybrid, and heirloom seeds, so be sure your pick has these qualities before you start preparing for long-term seed storage.

Why Try Long Term Seed Storage

For one thing, having a continuous supply of fresh produce is one best investments you can make for your health. Additionally, people from all over the country are making efforts to prepare for the worst. Can you blame them? In an unsteady global economy and food market, and considering the impact of natural and manmade disasters – it’s vital to consider your food supply in an emergency situation. You may want to consider, what you would do if our food supply were cut off? Or if the price of food became unaffordable? Stockpiling cans and dried goods can be lifesaving, but what happens if it runs out?

Here’s how to get started for long term seed storage.

The Three Most Effective Ways To Store Seeds Long-Term

Refrigerating Seeds: This method can prolong seed lifespans. Many seed savers simply place seeds in zip block bags with another fabric or brown paper bag over it to prevent light seeping in and penetrating the seeds. Do keep in mind that depending on the availability of refrigeration in an emergency situation, this method isn’t always dependable. Also, refrigeration exposes seeds to some moisture and can decrease viability. If you do have access to a refrigerator, vacuum sealing seeds and refrigerating combined was found to have one highest rates of germination after 12 months.

Vacuum Sealing Seeds: As we mentioned above, moisture is one of leading reasons seeds deteriorate quickly. Vacuum-sealing ensures seed humidity levels are low and can keep seeds dormant for years. While there is an initial investment in purchasing a vacuum seal-packaging machine, the end result is a reliable method to seed storage, even without refrigeration.

Water Proof Storage Containers And Bags: Traditional seed packets just won’t cut it in terms of long term seed storage. There is too much risk of exposure to sunlight, humidity, and temperature fluctuation. Re-sealable Mylar® bags and other FDA food safe containers that are air-tight and waterproof can be very reliable in terms of seed storage. Because seeds are dormant and you do not want to activate the seed, store seeds in a dark, cool location.

The Problem With Freezing Seeds: While some seed savers swear by seed storage in a freezer, many are on the fence about freezing seeds. The argument: since seeds absorb and expel moisture in the air, there’s a chance a seed’s moisture level will shift. Freezing seeds can even force seeds to expand, causing the fibers to deteriorate. What do you all think about freezing seeds? Have you tried freezing seeds with success?

***Friends, what are your favorite methods for long term seed storage? What have you tried that worked? What didn’t work***

About Us:

Humble Seed specializes in premium garden seed kits that are packaged and themed for convenience and ease.  We are dedicated to providing the highest quality heirloom, non-GMO, non-hybrid, and organic seed varieties to those who choose to start from seed.

Today’s Peasant Movement – Sophisticated, Threatened, and Our Best Hope for Survival  |  Peak Oil News and Message Boards

Today’s Peasant Movement – Sophisticated, Threatened, and Our Best Hope for Survival  |  Peak Oil News and Message Boards.

(Image: La Via Campesina)The term peasant often conjures up images of medieval serfs out of touch with the ways of the world around them. Such thinking is out of date. Today, peasants proudly and powerfully put forward effective strategies to feed the planet and limit the damages wrought by industrial agriculture. What’s more, they understand the connections between complex trade and economic systems, champion the rights of women, and even stand up for the rights of gay men and lesbians.

These are not your great ancestors’ peasants.

“A peasant is a scientist. The amount and quality of knowledge we have been developing and practicing for centuries is highly useful and appropriate,” said Maxwell Munetsi, a farmer from Zimbabwe and a member of the Via Campesina.

“Unlike agribusiness, peasants do not treat food as a commodity for speculation profiting out of hunger. They do not patent nature for profit, keeping it out of the hands of the common man and woman. They share their knowledge and seeds, so everyone can have food to eat.”

The Via Campesina is perhaps the largest social movement in the world, consisting of more than 250 million farmers and small producers from over 70 nations. At the top of the Via’s agenda is supporting peasant agriculture, which in today’s era of globalization also means seeking agrarian reform, challenging neoliberalism and corporate-friendly trade agreements, and working to stop climate disruption.

“Peasant organizations today – from Haiti to Brazil to Mali to Indonesia – are tremendously sophisticated in their political analysis, not just their impressive knowledge of seeds, natural pesticides and fertilizers and sustainable agricultural practices,” says Nikhil Aziz, Executive Director of Grassroots International.

“In fact,” Aziz continues, “the methods used by peasant farmers out-produce the far more destructive and costly practices of industrial agriculture. They can grow more food, at less cost, and actually help cool the planet. Meanwhile the massive plantations planted with seeds from Monsanto and other agrochemical giants and flooded with toxics produce less food, create more greenhouse gases and literally are making the farmers, consumers and planet sick.”

A global assessment spearheaded by the United Nations and including the World Bank and the United Nations Environment Program agree. Their 2008 report (the International Assessment of Agricultural Knowledge, Science and Technology for Development, or IAASTD for short) concludes that small-scale agriculture produces more food at less cost to the farmer and the environment than does industrial agriculture.

The conclusion of the IAASTD Report comes as no surprise to Carlos Hernriquez. When a member of UNOSJO (the Union of Organizations of the Sierra Juarez of Oaxaca, a Grassroots International partner) first reached out to Carlos, he was unconvinced.

“UNOSJO told us we did not have to rely on chemical fertilizers and pesticides. I was hesitant, thinking that buying fertilizers was a faster way to get results,” Carlos said. “I was hesitant for two years, until 2004 when I was motivated to make the organic fertilizer. In 2005, for the first time, I used the organiic fertilizer [in a small plot of land].”

Seeing is believing – and soon Carlos switched completely to agroecological methods that included heirloom seeds, natural fertilizers and pesticides, and intercropping. All of those techniques rely on the farmers’ knowledge. To succeed, farmers need to learn new and sustainable methods, share their knowledge, adapt to changing climate conditions, and maneuver politically at a time when global policies favor massive corporate agriculture and chemical giants.

The change in Carlos’ life is profound. Now he and his family have healthy food to eat and to sell at local farmers’ markets, they can afford to send all their children to school, and he is eager to share his expertise with others.

Carlos and other peasant farmers are part of a movement for food sovereignty – the right of peoples and communities to control the seeds they plant and the food they grow and consume in an ecologically sustainable and culturally appropriate way. This is the central concept of peasant agriculture, and it offers the potential to boost our global food system and protect the planet from climate disruption.

“Not only do peasant farmers feed communities, they also cool the planet and protect Mother Nature,” explains Via Campesina a statement on International Peasant Day last year saying. “Unlike agribusiness, peasants do not treat food as a commodity for speculation profiting out of hunger. They do not patent nature for profit, keeping it out of the hands of the common man and woman. They share their knowledge and seeds, so everyone can have food to eat.”

Food is central to our culture and our civilization, which is precisely the analysis that the small producers – farmers, fishers and foresters – of the Via Campesina bring. As long as corporations control the food system in order to produce short-term profit, our collective lives are in danger. Systems of injustice that uphold the corporate food system include trade agreements, water privatization schemes, land grabs and gender inequality. These are the connections that peasants like Carlos see every day.

For instance, more than 60 percent of the world’s farmers are women, yet women cannot own land in many nations. To confront this institutional violence against women, as well as domestic violence, the Via launched the Global Campaign to End Violence Against Women in 2008. The movement conducted trainings at the grassroots and also required co-gender leadership at all levels, including the highest level.  Farmers are also calling for a dismantling of the World Trade Organization and its manipulation of food commodity structures.

The success of peasants means success for all of us, because they are leading the way in feeding the world, counteracting greenhouse gas emissions and other environmentally toxic poisons, conserving water and biodiversity and expanding social and economic justice. The peasant movement chant of “Globalize the struggle, globalize the hope” is a roadmap toward a sustainable, dignified future.

Common Dreams

Activist Post: Supreme Court Gives Monsanto Full Ability to Sue Farmers

Activist Post: Supreme Court Gives Monsanto Full Ability to Sue Farmers.

Heather Callaghan
Activist Post

Do you remember the 2011 lawsuit from the Organic Seed Growers and Trade Association 80+ plaintiffs (farmers and small businesses) against Monsanto? They were fighting biotech giant Monsanto’s ability to sue them for patent infringement when genetically modified seeds inadvertently appear in organic/conventional fields.

Yes, were talking about the wind or insects carrying GM seeds onto another farm, which to them is considered contamination. But instead of the ability for the farmers to sue for a ruined field, they can be cleaned out in court for not having permission to plant patented seeds. Monsanto workers have been found trespassing and gathering evidence on farmers’ properties. The lawsuit had sought protection from this overreach, as Monsanto has filed 140 of these suits and settled 700 without suing.

Organic farmer and President of Organic Seed Growers and Trade Association (OSGATA), Jim Gerritsen, had said:

Our farmers want nothing to do with Monsanto. We are not customers of Monsanto. We don’t want their seed. We don’t want their gene-spliced technology. We don’t want their trespass onto our farms. We don’t want their contamination of our crops. We don’t want to have to defend ourselves from aggressive assertions of patent infringement because Monsanto refuses to keep their pollution on their side of the fence. We want justice.

And later:

We don’t think it’s fair that Monsanto can trespass onto our farm, contaminate and ruin our crops and then sue us for infringing on their patent rights.

A June 2013 ruling of the US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit in Washington, DC conceded to the plaintiffs’ argument that contamination from Monsanto seeds would occur, but ultimately dismissed them: “because Monsanto has made binding assurances that it will not ‘take legal action against growers whose crops might inadvertently contain traces of Monsanto biotech genes (because, for example, some transgenic seed or pollen blew onto the grower’s land).” (source)

As Rady Ananda points out, a “trace amount” in this ruling, only means less than one percentcontamination of a crop! Those are not the percentages of contamination in the real world – i.e. Monsanto can sue, sue, sue. Furthermore, less than one percent contamination still leaves the integrity of an organic crop ruined. It does not settle the issue of Monsanto trespassing on private land to take samples for infringement cases.

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After the federal court threw out the 2011 lawsuit based on Monsanto’s assurances, OSGATA plaintiffs petitioned the Supreme Court:

However, Petitioners risk being contaminated in amounts much greater than 1%, and thus remain compelled to forgo full use of their land and adopt genetic testing of their seed supplies in order to avoid being accused of patent infringement by Respondents.

When the plaintiffs asked Monsanto to pledge not to sue, the company responded: “A blanket covenant not to sue any present or future member of petitioners’ organizations would enable virtually anyone to commit intentional infringement.”

The Supreme Court would not hear the case* on Monday, thereby sealing the previous decisions in the district and federal courts. Monsanto can sue with full immunity if one percent or more of a farmer’s crop contains their patented seeds.

Kyle McClain, Monsanto’s chief litigation counsel told Reuters:

Monsanto never has and has committed it never will sue if our patented seed or traits are found in a farmer’s field as a result of inadvertent means.

The lower courts agreed there was no controversy between the parties, and the Supreme Court’s decision not to review the case brings closure on this matter.

Image by Thierry Ehrmann, licensed under Creative Commons

* Organic Seed Growers and Trade Association, et al., v. Monsanto Company, et al. Supreme Court Case No. 13-303

Heather Callaghan is a natural health blogger and food freedom activist. You can see her work at NaturalBlaze.com and ActivistPost.com. Like at Facebook.

Recent posts by Heather Callaghan:

Activist Post: USDA-Approved Agent Orange: It’s Coming to a Farm Near You

Activist Post: USDA-Approved Agent Orange: It’s Coming to a Farm Near You.

This caused damage to the ecosystem of Vietnam that is still present today. More than 5 million acres of forests were destroyed, and half a million acres of farmland were tainted. It will take centuries of nurturing for the land to recover.

The environment was not the only thing affected. Exposure to Agent Orange resulted in five horrible illness in those exposed: soft-tissue sarcoma, non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, chronic lymphocytic leukemia (including hairy-cell leukemia), Hodgkin’s disease, and chloracne. (source) What’s even worse is that the damage may not be limited to those directly exposed – it can affect offspring even up to 3rd and 4th generations.

Over a million US veterans were also exposed:

In 2010, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs provided $16.2 billion in compensation to 1,095,473 Vietnam-era veterans.[i] The agency does not relate these service-connected benefit figures directly to Agent Orange/dioxin exposure or to any other possible cause of illness, nor does it provide data on total compensation for the years since the war ended.

Thousands of U.S. veterans returning from Vietnam reported health problems almost immediately and rapidly associated them with Agent Orange/dioxin exposure. Controversy over these assertions began just as fast, and continues now.

Many questions remain: Whether (and how to test whether) the illnesses of veterans and their offspring are related to Agent Orange and other herbicide exposure; Levels of dioxin present in the chemicals; The accuracy of data about veterans’ exposure; Levels of corporate, military and government awareness of dioxin’s presence; Fixing of responsibility for the contaminant’s presence and liability for its damages; Details of research protocols, accuracy of findings and reliability of interpretations; and Decisions on who should pay what to whom for which possible courses of remedial action. This “blame game” has blocked action in both the U.S. and Vietnam, needlessly prolonging the suffering of millions of U.S. veterans and Vietnamese. – (source)And now, the USDA, in all of their infinite wisdom, intends to expose Americans to one of the deadly ingredients via our food supply.

Corn and soybeans are present in some form in up to 90% of the processed foods available today. So not only will we be exposed to the effects environmentally, anyone who eats processed food will be directly consuming it. Mmmm…Corn with Agent Orange Sauce…Yummy.

Some scientist argue that 2,4-D is not responsible for the horrible human toll extracted by Agent Orange, while others claim the weed-killer is deadly.

According to the Associated Press, scientists don’t believe 2,4-D to be responsible for health complications caused by Agent Orange, and have instead pinpointed the ingredient 2,4,5-T – banned by the EPA in 1985 – as the culprit. Previous findings by the EPA have also declared the weed killer safe to use, but other groups aren’t as confident.

As RT reported in the past, the Natural Resources Defense Council has linked 2,4-D to cases of cancer, genetic mutations and more. In addition the impact on humans, the Save Our Crops Coalition believes it will be extremely difficult to contain the application of the herbicide to a particular area.

“These herbicides have been known to drift and volatilize to cause damage to plants over ten miles away from the point of application,” the coalition claimed. (source)

Proven in the island petri dish of Molokai, the danger of GMO crops is not limited to the consumption of those foods. The farming methods themselves cause an epidemic of deadly health problems to those near the fields, including cancer, respiratory illness, and horrible skin disorders.

The EPA review of these experimental new seeds will occur over the next few months, and if approved (and we all know it will be since the EPA is as much of a sell-out as the USDA) farmers across the country will then be able to plant the new seeds douse the fields with 2,4-D throughout the growing season.

When the very air you depend on to survive is poisoned, what can you do? How can you prep for this?

Agent Orange. It’s coming to a farm near you.

Daisy Luther is a freelance writer and editor. Her website, The Organic Prepper, where this first appeared, offers information on healthy prepping, including premium nutritional choices, general wellness and non-tech solutions. You can follow Daisy on Facebook and Twitter, and you can email her at daisy@theorganicprepper.ca

European Commission To Ban Heirloom Seeds and Criminalize Plants & Seeds Not Registered With Government – Healthy Debates | Healthy Debates

European Commission To Ban Heirloom Seeds and Criminalize Plants & Seeds Not Registered With Government – Healthy Debates | Healthy Debates.

(Arjun Walia) The European Commission is changing the European Union’s plant legislation, apparently to enhance food safety across the continent. This move has sparked a heavy  opposition from many, saying that the measure will threaten seed diversity and favour large agrochemical businesses. This new law creates new powers to classify and regulate all plant life anywhere in Europe. You can view the entire proposal in the list of sources at the bottom of this article.

The “Plant Reproductive Material Law” regulates all plants. It contains restrictions on vegetables and woodland trees, as well as all other plants of any species. It will be illegal to grow, reproduce, or trade any vegetable seed or tree that has not been been tested and approved by the government, more specifically the “EU Plant Variety Agency.” This agency will be responsible for making a list of approved plants and an annual fee must also be forwarded to the agency if growers would like to keep what they grow on the list. The new law basically puts the government in charge of all plants and seeds in Europe, and prevents home gardeners from growing their own plants from non-regulated seeds. If they did, they would now be considered criminals.

The draft text of the law has already been changed several times due to a large backlash from gardeners.

This law will immediately stop the professional development of vegetable varieties for home gardeners, organic growers and small scale market farmers. Home gardeners have really different needs – for example they grow by hand, not machine, and can’t or don’t want to use such powerful chemical sprays. There’s no way to register the varieties suitable for home use as they don’t meet the strict criteria of the PLant Variety Agency, which is only concerned about approving the sort of seed used by industrial farmers – Ben Gabel, Director of The Real Seed Catalogue

It seems the government is taking over everything, virtually all plants, vegetables seeds and gardeners are to be registered by the government. What’s even more disturbing is that all heirloom seeds will be criminalized. This means that saving seeds from from one generation to the next will become a criminal act!

This law was written for the needs of the globalized farm seed industry, who supply seed by the ton to industrial farmers. It should not apply at all to seed used by home gardeners and small market growers. Freely reproducible seeds should be a human right, they are part of our heritage.

I understand this is to protect the business of big agri-companies, but registration and testing should be voluntary for all non GMO, non-patented and non hybrid seed.

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