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Keepers of the Seed

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Written by Allison Miller, October 2005

“Keepers of the Seed”

 

When the addiction of seed saving “kicks in” you often end up with more than enough seed for your own personal or family needs.  The National Seed Savers Network (NSSN) in Bryon Bay, NSW (www.seedsaver.net) is especially set up for members to share their excesses through their newsletters, website and seed bank.  However, the NSSN has come to realise that the bio-diversity of our food is so great that one network cannot sustain our nation’s seed networking needs.  Over the last couple of years, the NSSN has spent a lot of time and money in supporting existing and newly established Local Seed Networks – like SA Seed Savers (http://saseedsavers.tripod.com/)   

 

It makes so much more sense for many, inter-connecting Local Seed Networks to be the “keepers of the seed”.  Like a bio-cultural garden – where many plant varieties will ensure we are not reliant on a mono-crop for our food or income, which could easily be wiped out by pests or diseases, leaving us in a vulnerable situation – Local Seed Networks would carry us through if a bushfire or flooding was to wipe out the NSSN Seed Bank in Bryon Bay. 

 

Two local “keepers of the seed” who I’ve recently come into contact with have made full-sized contributions to the SA Seed Savers seed collection.  Des of Paradise has been growing up to 2 kg “Delicious” Tomatoes since the early seventies, guaranteeing lots of homemade tomato sauce (hmmm…delish…ous) for his family, whilst Dave of Redwood Park feeds his neighbourhood with his 30-60 kg “Jumbo” pumpkins.  By entrusting some the seed of their yummy, highly productive, disease and pest resistant tomatoes and pumpkins to SA Seed Savers, they are keeping the bio-diversity, DNA, genetics of these varieties alive and well in South Australia – as well as spreading their knowledge of how to grow these unique varieties!!

 

Another multi-purposed Local Seed Network is your local Community Garden (www.communityfoods.org.au).  Gone are the days when every backyard in your neighbourhood had its own vegie patch and sharing seed with your neighbour was as natural as having a natter over the galvanised fence.   “Urban Community Gardeners are bringing life and liveability, seed by seed, back to their neighbourhoods.1” 

 

One such Community Garden - the Rosetta Village Community Garden in Victor Harbor – has on first impressions, a very typical Community Garden layout, with numerous rectangular blocks for individual plots, shared areas of fruit trees and vines, a very large compost heap, a place to store ye garden implements and a spot to share a cuppa, some gardening knowledge and some seed.  All the same, the thing which impressed me most about this Community Garden is the fact that it is part of an intentional community, as it is situated within the boundaries of a Retirement Village.  Perhaps the wisdom of life helps us to eventually realise the inherent advantages of communal and shared living spaces – and as the “grey power” of Adelaide dictates our urban landscape, then more Community Gardens will be on our horizons.

 

Local Seed Networking will ensure our food won’t be as easily commercialised as some of our other cultural identities, like music and dance, has been.

 

 

1                    Patricia Hynes “Community Gardening in South Australia” Booklet, Dept of Human Services & Community & Neighbourhood Houses and Centres Association

 

Allison Miller – a “mover of the seeds”, will happily pass on excess seed through SA Seed Savers, jamiller@airnet.com.au or 8359 6781 or 0400 732 270

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The Rosetta Village Community Garden in Victor Harbor – has on first impressions, a very typical Community Garden layout, with numerous rectangular blocks for individual plots, shared areas of fruit trees and vines, a very large compost heap, a place to store ye garden implements and a spot to share a cuppa, some gardening knowledge and some seed.

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A "fully stocked" plot