Across the Earth, small farmers, backyard gardeners, mothers, fathers, sons and daughters are viewing this as one of the most vital resources to our existence. An aspect of life that translates in every culture, in every language, in every home: seed.
For centuries, native seed diversity and sustainability has been a topic revered by many. Whether through academics, local economies, or the neighborhood seed libraries, the importance of growing and maintaining cultivars has been broad in passion and narrow in scope. When one studies any ancient people and even farmers of today, one will find that preserving seed has been vital to the food security of every generation.
Knowing what type of seed to store and to plant is key. Today, seeds are generally found in one of four forms: 1) heirloom seed, 2) open-pollinated seed, 3) hybrid seed, 4) genetically-modified organism seed. We will define what these key terms mean below.
1. Heirloom seed is a seed that produces plants with the same characteristics planting after planting, season after season, and generation after generation. Heirloom seed is generally but not always tailored to region-specific climate and soil conditions. Some heirloom seed has been preserved over 100 years or more.
2. Open-pollinated seed is a seed whose plant holds its quality and characteristics of the previous generation. Open-pollinated seed is seed of like variety that is kept from cross-pollination of other varieties in a garden plot (generally accomplished by fair distance from another variety). When the seed is saved, the grower will select the best two thirds of the seed crop which generally leads to the improvement of the seed strain. Note: all heirloom seeds are open-pollinated.
3. Hybrid seed is a seed that is the result of a technical method of crossing or mating between two different varieties or “parents” of the same plant species. This occurs when two open-pollinated varieties are grown side by side to ensure that every seed has received pollen from one breed (the father) and is grown on a distinctly different breed (the mother). Hybridization generally does not occur in a natural environment. The conditions are usually purposely set by man to achieve a desired result. Consequently, “child” and “grandchild” seeds of hybrid seed produce dissimilar characteristics of its “parent” seed resulting in a loss of true seed traits.
4. Genetically-Modified Organism (GMO) seed is a seed that is the result of a laboratory process where genes from the DNA of one species are extracted and artificially forced into the genes of an unrelated plant or animal. The foreign genes may come from bacteria, viruses, chemicals, insects, animals or even humans. By adding these new genes, genetic engineers hope the plant will express the traits associated with the genes. The methods used to transfer the genes of modified DNA into a genetically-modified plant are imprecise and unpredictable. Consequently, these unintended changes result in a decline in food’s nutritional value, express toxic and allergic effects, lower crop yields and unforeseen harm to the environment that cannot be recalled.
At Twin Arcs Farm, we know that the seed we select is critical to the health and well-being of ourselves, our neighbors, our community, the environment, and every living creature that interacts with our plants. We take this very seriously. All of our seeds are Hierloom and/or Open-Pollinated and non-Hybrid, non-GMO varieties. All of our plants live vibrantly in chemical-free air and soil supported with organic compost with the help of cows, horses and chickens, with no need for synthetic fertilizers.
Rest assured knowing that the food provided for you and your family has been treated with utmost respect, stewarded with dignity, and preserved with love as our Creator intended.
Seed according to its kind.