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May 28, 2015

Save Your Seeds!

Growing your own food is great step in supporting healthy and environmentally-sound food systems. If you feel like doing more, try saving your own seeds at season’s end. It may sound difficult, but it’s very easy to save seeds from most popular vegetables and herbs. Seed saving allows you to connect more deeply with your food and the rhythm of nature while saving money. You can also adapt your favorite varieties to your local climate. For a thorough list of reasons to try seed saving check out “40 Reasons to Save Seeds in 2015” from the Seed Savers Exchange.

Many great resources exist that explain why seed saving is important.  Sow True Seed’s article series on Mother Earth News is an introduction to the humble seed’s role in food security and crop diversity.  In a Huffington Post blog, Danielle Nierenberg of Food Tank highlights fifteen seed saving organizations (many in the US) collecting seeds in their regions and the world to preserve global agricultural biodiversity. For a longer read, check out Janisse Ray’s “The Seed Underground: A Growing Revolution to Save Seeds”. She dives into the genetics and politics of seeds while weaving stories of the “quiet revolution in thousands of gardens across America.”

There are also many wonderful resources on how to save seeds. Sow True Seed has a short and sweet guide with instructions on saving specific vegetable, herb and flower seeds. The Organic Seed Alliance offers a comprehensive guide to planting, harvesting and cultivating seeds as well as a short course in flower pollination. It’s in a printable format and may be a great resource to have on hand. For those who prefer to quickly isolate their crop of interest, the Seed Saver’s Exchange offers online Seed Saver instructions with a drop-down menu of crops and flowers. The organization also posts a monthly webinar covering seed saving techniques for different crops.

For seed savers who want to share their favorite crops and try new varieties, local seed libraries provide a space to share, trade and collect local biodiversity. Check out this Seed Library Locator Map to see if there is a library near you or add your local seed library! Also, this seed library directory lists many libraries found in the United States.

Seed saving is becoming increasingly popular as demand and concern about threatened crops and agricultural diversity rises.  Do you save your seeds? What are some of your favorite resources? Please share in the comments below. Happy seed saving!

Submitted by Kate Wilkins, Garden Coordinator at SFBFS