So, I was checking out KGI Kitchen Gardeners International the other day, and stumbled onto this article about seed starting. In it, the author discusses a seed storage program conducted by a group in the USDA called NGRP National Genetics Resources Program which was established to:
acquire, characterize, preserve, document, and distribute to scientists, germplasm of all lifeforms important for food and agricultural production. Pretty exciting right?
Well, one of the things they distribute is heirloom seeds and plants. The author of the article said that you can go through their list, click on some seeds you're interested in, and basically request that they send them to you. Really exciting. So, I searched through their list, which is pretty extensive. You want to know the scientific name for whatever plant you want. This is primarily for research purposes.
Side note on the ethics of requesting seed. I know I'm going to come off holier than thou at the time of this posting, but so be it. I requested seed as a result of becoming more informed about the state of agricultural food systems today. The US commercial agricultural industry is leading us into treacherous territory. That territory is the world of monoculture. Every scientist worth their salt knows that diversity is the strength that has kept living beings inhabiting the planet. Through natural disaster, plague, human intervention, life has continued, and a big reason for that is that life on this planet is adaptable and able to change. But, what happens when we engineer an existence that is focused on being the same? Google Irish Potato Famine and you'll find out exactly what happens.
Which is why NGRP is such an important occupation. They catalogue and make safe haven for the diversity on our planet, on behalf of this country. They do everything, plants, animals, microbes, invertebrate. But it's not just their job to care for diverse species, it's our job too. If you inhabit this planet, and especially if you have children, then there's a certain responsibility that you have towards protecting life. If for no reason than we can conceive of the future without us. So, if you order seed, understand that it is probably more valuable than the stuff that you get at the garden center or nursery. It's like seed exchange valuable. Rare, important, beautiful. I will now stop stomping around, banging my morality stick across everything.
Anyways, I got an e-mail from Mr. B. Bartlett who said that they are sending me seed as soon as possible. :::screaming inside::: So, my day has gone from bad to pretty darn good. I ordered two different types of lowbush blueberry, fava beans, and calendula seeds. I am hoping that starting the blueberry from see will be successful, and I know most people do transplant. I'm going out tomorrow to purchase moss to germinate the blueberry seeds, waiting for those to germinate might actually kill me. I've read that it can take a month. As far as the fava goes, I am going to grow those in large containers, and simply harvest the beans to store for seed. Maybe after about a season I will have enough to eat.