The new Seed Trade Census released by the Seed Savers Exchange reports that over 12,892 open-pollinated varieties of vegetables, culinary herbs, legumes and grains are now available in the United States, more than twice the number (5534) available in 1981, when the census began.
Many of those annual seed crop varieties have been restored for use in our gardens, on our farms and on our tables by people like you, working through informal networks in and among communities of growers independent of government programs, multinational corporations and philanthropic foundations.
This grassroots effort over the last third of a century may be one of the most cost-effective accomplishments in recovering food biodiversity ever undertaken on our planet. It involves liberals and conservations, urban and rural dwellers, black, white, brown and red families of all faiths. And yet, over half of those varieties (54%) are still only available by one known vendor, seed library, non-profit or small micro-enterprise….
There is much more work to be done before we can say that the seeds are truly “saved” for future use by their original communities of stewards. It will take more than just one village to assure their affordable and just access for future generations… But you can take pride in the fact that your participation in the informal economies of food biodiversity matter deeply to the future food security of the dwellers of Turtle Island, our shared North American continent.
-Gary Paul Nabhan