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Great Expectations for Seed Keeping with Garden Futurist Jennifer Jewell

Articles: Great Expectations for Seed Keeping with Garden Futurist Jennifer Jewell

Fall 2023

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From a gardener’s hyperlocal natural history to raw, existential questions, in her new book What We Sow, Jennifer Jewell delves into researching the story of seeds. There is so much talk about biodiversity loss and climate change, yet the central, essential role of seeds is often missing from greater public discourse. Join us as we explore seed conservation on a global, community, and individual scale. You may develop great expectations of your own.

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Sarah Beck: You’re listening to Garden Futurist. I’m Sarah Beck, here with Adriana Lopez Villalobos. Hi, Adriana.

Adrianna López-Villalobos: Hi, Sarah.

Sarah Beck: Our recent conversations have really started bringing up this topic of seeds and the value of the seed. It’s funny how seldom in horticulture we really focus in on that. So I’m just wondering if we can get everyone warmed up to hear this conversation with Jennifer Jewell by thinking a little bit about what is the seed?

Adrianna López-Villalobos: For me, thinking about seeds is thinking about gene movement. Plants spread their genes through pollen and seed. Pollen carries male genes, and this is needed for fertilization to occur. But seeds carry embryo, and then those embryos are potentially going to become plants.

So we have to think about the consequences of seed movement, and this means nontraditional vectors, and in this case I’m talking about we humans moving seeds.

Sarah Beck: That’s not a very romantic way to think about ourselves. I feel like maybe I am a nontraditional vector, but that’s not my favorite term I’ve ever heard for myself.

It’s funny, Adriana, we were sort of joking about the perspective of humans versus plants.

This is very anthropomorphizing, but the amazing thing that plants get by choosing not to move around the planet on feet, is that they have this ability to be immortal, to preserve themselves in this generational immortality, right?

I’m adding a lot of human words here, but it’s a fascinating thing to think about, that a plant can exist in this little tiny package of powerful genetic information and they can just hang out. Anything could be happening. There could be a fire. There could be total desolate nothingness, and then they can be revived and come back. We definitely cannot do that. Only in the most bizarro science fiction.

Adriana, what do you think the gardener should know or should think about the seed?

Adrianna López-Villalobos: Plants have evolved with certain dispersal mechanisms. But now we are facing the consequences of nontraditional vectors, which are humans. She talks a lot about that, right? Like the movement of seeds by humans and the ethical and nonethical consequences of that. Have that in mind when we think and we wrap our heads around the concept of seed.

Sarah Beck: You used two different voices throughout this book, and I thought it was a really useful convention. I saw one as a personal diary, and it started feeling to me almost like a natural history that was built for an individual place. I was so enamored with that. Your reflections and observations were at times so beautiful and poetic, but also so deeply appreciative of place. I definitely want to hear more about how you did that. And then you also had this very journalistic side of the book that was lots of science and conservation and history and how we got here.

So, first of all, I’d just love to hear you talk briefly about—what is your place? What is that place in the world that is your inspiration for telling this story? We can take a moment to think about this part of California that you have gotten to know. I think that’s really meaningful.

Jennifer Jewell: It is certainly very meaningful to me, and I appreciate your description of the two different voices.

It was tricky and a little hard to wrangle, but it was important to me that I had this personal-journal-level line through the book about what was happening in my own place at this exact time, whatever that time might be—October, January, June.

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There were a couple reasons for that. It was important to me that I had very personal skin in the game, because that personal access point I think is where we find motivation to act in the best interest of all of us and of our environment and places.

So that was the first reason I used the journal entries about my life with John a lot in his place, which has become my place. It is an oak woodland canyon with a little year-round creek that runs through it. And I use it not only as where I stake my intention to be the best gardener and steward I can, but also as this macrocosm for the larger world, like you can look at this one little prescribed place and it has so many little microclimates and little ecosystems. It has agriculture, it has mining, it has colonization.

I sit, I produce my podcast, and do my work, and live my life on unceded homeland territory of the Mechoopda Indian Tribe of the Chico Rancheria here at the Mechoopda Maidu here in Interior Northern California. There is all evidence of their lives and histories in this canyon. So there is water, there is a seed shed, there are invasive plants, there are colonizers.

So, there was a way to talk about some of the bigger issues in our horticultural world, our scientific world, and our just socioeconomic world from just this one tiny place. And I think that if anyone listening to this looks at their own place, they can do the same. It kind of comes back to that beautiful reflection by Jamaica Kincaid, that when you look at your garden and the plants you have assembled there as well as your personal history in that place, the whole world and its history is there with you, right?

Now there’s a third reason too, Sarah, and I think that people will notice it when they read the book. There is a great relief when you get to the personal entries after you have slogged through a complicated discussion on the history of seed libraries or seed banks or GMOs or pesticide-coated seeds, to finally get back to Jennifer and John doing their little garden thing. You’re like, “Oh, okay now we’re here again good I can just rest for a second.”

I hope in some way that that is a reminder to everybody that if we ground ourselves in our places, we are sustained for the bigger advocacy and activism we want to hold.

Sarah Beck: I think there’s something very valuable and I think most gardeners have a sense of that—that understanding the place you are, getting to know the place you are. Truly knowing the seasonal cycles and the plant reproductive cycles where you live, the things that are your familiar plant friends.

Jennifer Jewell: I would go off into the ether on these things, like the controversies around the opening of Svalbard, or the history of the Bayer Monsanto Corporation, and I think this is true for all of us in our everyday life, like, we can get swept away by how much loss and devastation and political fatigue and economic and global sadness and grief and chaos, right?

But you can also still walk outside, and those 250-year-old oak trees are still coloring up for the fall and their acorns are there. And the acorn woodpeckers are yelling about who gets which acorn. It reminds us that these seed-bearing plants, specifically the angiosperms, the flowering seed-bearing plants, they’ve been at this game of survival and reproduction and collaboration and competition and migration patterns for 365 million years, right?

They know stuff, and they’re still here. And there’s something very calming about that. For me, it’s the embodiment of faith. Like, I have faith in them, even when I fail to sometimes have faith in human endeavors.

Sarah Beck: I did find that as you go deeper in your research, seed conservation itself, it’s not just a theme, it becomes a central conversation. We do talk a lot about biodiversity loss and climate change, and these are very common conversations to have with plants as a contextual part of that conversation. But I am curious if you were surprised at all, as you went deeper into this research. Even though this is a familiar topic, I don’t get the sense that there is a huge amount of public discourse that involves the seed conservation part of this conversation.

Jennifer Jewell: The first thing is I come back to this binary. I’m trying really hard not to go there, because one of the things that’s clear in my seed shed here in the canyon with John is that seed is both powerfully good, and it is also—in the wrong place at the wrong time, introduced by the wrong people—also devastating, right?

So it’s powerfully potentially good and powerfully potentially devastating. And by that, I mean the many, many often horticultural introductions of invasive plants that have decimated or just contaminated our native landscapes to the detriment of the native biodiversity in those places. But one of the things from this last 20 years of studying seed, getting to know seed, being impressed and awed by seed is how many times it gets siloed into these different pockets.

I think in part that has to do with, that is an efficient way to think about it., because you have many conversations in the world about the loss of heirloom—and I’m saying “loss” because there’s some discussion in there, too—of biodiversity in our passed-down, home-garden-level food crops. At the turn of the century, there were 500 tomato varieties or cucumbers or winter squashes. We talk about that and we see that.

So there is a lot of work from Seed Savers Exchange to Slow Food and their seed summits and Stone Barns and people on the western side of the continent working on refinding, replanting, resharing the edible foods of the Asian diaspora, of the African diaspora, of, of course, the Indigenous Seed Keepers Network. Most of these are focused on the diversity of food that we as humans have selected over the last several centuries, if not millennia.

What was interesting to me interviewing some of the big seed scientists, like Dr. John Dickie out of the Millennium Seed Bank at Kew in England, Dr. Stephanie Greene and Dr. Christina Walters at the USDA seed bank—which has a much longer name, but let’s just call it that—in Fort Collins, and Dr. Colin Khoury, who is now at the San Diego Botanical Garden, and then Gary Nabhan.

The separation of our food crops from our native plant seed restoration work, I understand why they’ve been siloed because they have different pragmatics to their conservation and their restoration or disbursement out into the world, but when we reconnect them, we see and we remember that all food crops hail back from a wild food progenitor, a wild crop progenitor in our native landscapes.

So all of a sudden, the home vegetable garden—which seems sort of different than pollinator or biodiversity conservation—is actually the same. They just have a slightly different face to them.

And I think for me, what kept coming up over and over again was—much in the same way that Dr. Doug Tallamy has been able to show to us this very specific food chain relationship between the insects and caterpillars and their larval food to our larger biodiversity and the importance of them—it seems to me that if we can get our hundred million households in the US to also understand their seed better. Because it’s that articulated joint from which all these other things flow, whether it’s food crops, ecosystem restoration, or invasive plant control, they all come back to how we care for seed and what we understand about it.

Sarah Beck: This is probably a good point to share, at least in broad strokes, where some of those divisions are in the history of caring for seed. I think if this book were to distill, “Okay, here are some top things that the gardener or the person who is interested in this topic should just know and understand from the beginning.”

I think it is really important to understand a little bit of this history of how this division between conservation of agricultural crop seed, and then the conversation about species diversity and preservation generally, how these pieces actually have been on fairly parallel tracks.

I wouldn’t describe this as common knowledge. I feel like not a lot of people have the opportunity to really look at it, because again, they’re in totally different fields. If you’re in that world where the USDA germplasm story is, you’re probably not in the world as much where a lot of this general biodiversity and habitat-level ecology conversation is, right?

Jennifer Jewell: Right, and I think you will be well familiar with this, but one of the things that is very clear to me in our horticultural world is we have these very steadfast, very active and very determined groups that sometimes can’t seem to come together to be a bigger whole.

One of those are the edible food crop gardeners, right? “We need to feed the world. We need to feed our neighborhoods. We need to feed ourselves so we have self-sufficiency,” which I love. Beautiful.

Then we have the native plant people and they are over here saying, “We have to rebuild biodiversity. We have to reintegrate ourselves with the native plant world and support this loss and support these insects and support clean air and clean water through those efforts.” Also great. I love them, but they’re in fact on the same page, but they are coming at it from two different angles. Again, perfectly efficient and good.

I think if we as gardeners can understand that they can and do come together with the way we think, the way we vote, the way we spend our dollars, which is also voting, that they’re not they aren’t two different things. We can do both really, really well in our home gardens for the better of both advocacies.

A lot of it comes down to sociopolitical forces and the urgency of empire building, to be very clear, and that dates back to certainly the 1800s, and it definitely dates back earlier than that to all colonial endeavors.

It is clear in all of world history that no matter who the empire might have been and what they were trying to take over, they had two objectives that furthered their cause. One was: secure your own food supply so you can feed your people and your troops. The second was: target the food supply of other people that you are trying to dominate because if you control their food, you control them.

To feed your people, good impulse. To dominate other people by taking away their food, kind of a shitty impulse.

So, you get to the late 1800s in Russia and the Russian leadership at that point understand that they want to protect the genetics of their most staple, best agricultural crops so they can support their empire building at the moment.

They institute what is considered to be the first of the seed banks in our world. From there until really the mid-20th century, you are looking at most seed banks being focused on collecting, protecting, and then sharing as necessary or breeding and researching as necessary, the best agricultural food crops.

This was true across the globe. So it was true in the US, it was true in the UK, it was true in Russia, and then large groups and governments got together and said, “We need to secure the global biodiversity of food crops in some of these key areas around the world,” such as the hub of wheat diversity and other dry land crops in the Middle East. The diversity of rice crops in the Philippines, I believe, is where that one is located.

So it goes on from there. And it’s not until about the mid-1900s that we see this expanding into seed banks that are also looking to secure the genetics—in seed or other germplasm form—for the biodiversity of places. This really ramps up in the 1990s with the first convention on biodiversity and agreement of nations to try and collect, preserve, share the biodiversity of regions.

Sarah Beck: I think it’s probably important to add about the Nagoya Protocol in this because if you are in the US, your home country did not participate in some of this decision making.

Jennifer Jewell: It was heartbreaking. So the Nagoya Protocol was crafted, worked on, edited, recrafted, revoted on at a UN convention in one of these conventions on biodiversity. It brought, I think, 151 countries and subgroups  signed that protocol determining that each of those places would make big strides toward protecting, collecting, preserving, identifying, and sharing with other people the seed biodiversity of their place.

The United States did not sign this protocol agreeing to this because they were worried about the economic fallout. To be quite honest—I’ll be blunt, and this is my opinion and not the opinion of the program you’re listening to, necessarily—but they wanted to make sure that we protected our profits in going in and exploiting resources in other countries, instead of first focusing on protecting biodiversity around the world.

Sarah Beck: This is where the story goes next, I think, this conversation about who owns something or can we even own certain things is an interesting set of questions that you do a great job asking.

Just to stay at this high level, it is very interesting how one of those key components of that protocol really had to do with sharing, benefit sharing, and this idea that within the fruits of the earth, these are things that we can’t keep from one another, especially if there’s some greater benefit to humanity.

So I do want to jump to some of the profiles that you do in the book. These are really the big players in this world that you talk to, and it’s fascinating how many different perspectives you gather from these different places. We’ll just call them seed people, because obviously they’re scientists and conservationists, and there are grassroots activists, and there’s people who are really working on a community level.

So I should mention Dr. Colin Khoury was on our last episode of the Garden Futurist podcast. So, this is a really nice segue into thinking about some of these different layers of what seed people do. Colin talked to us about crop wild relatives.

We actually did briefly touch on USDA National Center for Genetic Resources Preservation in Fort Collins. That’s where Dr. Stephanie Greene is, the curator, and others. That is a facility that does have an open source sharing component, which is the GRIN Global Network. I hate acronyms so I’m always going to say them: Germplasm Resources Information Network. That is open source, it’s an information site.

You mentioned Gary Nabhan, whose work and many others as well, in terms of the native seed SEARCH—and oh gosh, maybe you can help me. SEARCH is also an acronym, is it not?

Jennifer Jewell: It is. Southwestern Endangered Aridland Resources Clearing House.

Sarah Beck: The reason I bring these up is just because I think there are seed people working at a lot of different scales that you talk about. You’ve got these big banks, and then you also have smaller libraries. Do you just have some insight into what the roles for all of these different scales of seed work are?

Jennifer Jewell: I’m going to apply an analogy or a metaphor here with the seed world.

In any ecosystem, you have the big keystone species, the big charismatic species. So let’s take my ecosystem. We’re talking about the oaks and the pines. They’re the big players, the big growers. You then have your shrubs, and then you have your groundcovers, and then you have your perennial herbaceous, and your grasses, and then you have your annuals, and then you have your geophytes.

They all have different numbers of seeds. They all have different seed dispersal mechanisms. They all have different roles to play in the ecosystem. And we stinking need them all.

And this is true of the seed people. We need Dr. Christina Walters overseeing with Stephanie Greene, the seed bank of the US and keeping an eye because while we do have GRIN, and it is open source, you have to know what you’re talking about in order to go into GRIN and get what you want out of it, right? Whereas, as soon as Dr. Walters and Dr. Greene became truly cognizant of how many seeds are in the seed bank that are perhaps culturally significant to tribal peoples across the continent, they have begun looking for these people, these groups wanting to access seed and they are tagging that seed so it’s easier for you to find it on GRIN.

Open access sounds great, but if it has barriers like technology use and nomenclature issues, then it’s not really open. So you need those people, but you also need Owen Taylor and Chris Bolden-Newsome on the ground in Philadelphia saying, how do we bring cultural and food and economics together to the better of the greater Philadelphia and world, right? You need all these layers of people looking out in their own places, just like you need every gardener on the ground to do what they can, where they are for the environment and for food and for culture and beauty. And if you just go out and play in your garden today, use no chemicals and feed one butterfly, like you’re doing it.

Seed Collection by the author, Jennifer Jewell

Sarah Beck: I’m glad you have brought in the Indigenous cultural knowledge piece, because I think that’s true that that is a piece that may have been missing in earlier iterations of these conversations.

Jennifer Jewell: Maybe shifting the paradigm that  has been a worldview in which profit is the dominant decider, or our own personal food source—which is our own self-interest—is the decider over the greater whole. I mean, when you think about land-based peoples everywhere, there has been this instinctual integration of caring for the natural resources around you, even while you grow your own food. And that there is a cross-pollination there that benefits both.

The land-based peoples the world over, across time and space, who see these plants and these seeds as being blessings or prayers full of lessons from the past to us to steward into the future, that is a very different worldview than one that says, “You know what? I’m going to pick one of these 300 different corn species, and I’m going to market the hell out of it. I’m going to coat it with insecticide and pesticides of all manner, and I’m going to see just how much I can sell in the world.”

Those are two very different worldviews. This one, the one in which profit and efficiency and our self-interest has dominated how we make decisions, has gotten us to where we are right now. If we can listen and absorb and empathize and then take our own actions to move us toward a different mindset, I think we will see so much greater progress in science.

I think if anyone in this world has done the work needed for that shift, it’s Dr. Robin Wall Kimmerer, who has made it clear that to use the word science and disallow Indigenous knowledge as not being scientific. She did that work for us, and that’s how we can even have this conversation today, Sarah, and have people be like, “Oh yeah, I see, I see.”

Sarah Beck: How should we as gardeners, as seed people ourselves, frame our understanding of these different forces?

What’s the perfect outcome here? You started to allude to it earlier. What would be your vision for that world in which maybe there’s not division between, “Oh, this is a crop plant. This is a wild plant”? These things all fit into some economic importance scale or whatever it is.

What would it look like in the world if the ecosystem was all working together properly?

Jennifer Jewell: I’m going to come right back to my own mission with my work, which in part is to hold myself grounded, but also accountable in the power I see home gardeners as having, and I see it as being an immense power.

That power is born of our joy and our personal pleasure and gratification at being called to be gardeners. During the pandemic, I recognized for myself that there was so much I didn’t understand about seed. As a 50-something-year-old woman, to not know that felt like an abdication of knowledge, but also responsibility. I really don’t want this book to be a finger-wagging, like, “You should do this, you should do this.” No, no.

It is, “Take time to ask yourself what you don’t know and what you might want to know more about. And as you learn more, come to your own decisions on how you then appreciate that, whether it’s the incredible diversity of seeds and seed mechanisms in the native plants around you.”

So to see the huge diversity of beauty and ingenuity these plants have coevolved, that right there is one of my greatest hopes for this book, is it makes each of us remember the miracle that we are working with that is an acorn turning into an oak tree. Like, we know it, but when we really think about that, that is really cool.

How do we want to honor that gift and that awe and that joy? For me, it was doing the research for this book, so that I could say to myself, “You do understand it a little more, and therefore, you are never going to use chemicals again.”

I was already there, but I have doubled down on that. And I want to grow more things from seed, and I want to let more things in my cultivated garden, that might be the kinds of things I cut flowers for, or I eat food from, maybe letting them go to seed.

So I see it happen, and then I understand it, and then I understand this plant better, and that is part of what a good relationship is, right? You understand the whole cycle, and you allow it, and appreciate it, and you learn from it. Those things right there, I think, will automatically help protect, preserve, perpetuate a better mindset for all the sociopolitical, economic, international, global, all those things. We will make different decisions from that appreciation going up the food chain, as it were, of these other human-made structures.

Sarah Beck: I love how this comes back to this, and maybe this isn’t the perfect term, but this idea of the personal natural history, I was hoping that we’d have time for you to read a short passage.

Jennifer Jewell: I would love to.

“Foundational to clean water, clean air, and sufficient food are… plants. Foundational to the vast majority of plants on our planet—the seed-bearing plants … —are their seeds: the smallest form of, the very essence of, these plants. …”

“… If water, air, soil, and fire are the four primary elements, it takes seed as a fifth element for humans to make the first four equal life here on earth. Seed is life. …”

“… What exactly are the contours of our humanity? Are they perfectly formed to the texture of a mustard seed? Of an acorn? Of the glossy chestnut handful of a buckeye with its eye-like hilum? Are they the permeating fragrance of basil seed? The elaborate armature of a pipevine? Are they the juicy protein invitation of an elaiosome or sweet flesh of a berry, an apple?

“Can the contours of our humanity expand back out to be that infinitely diverse, artful, flavorful, and generative?

“The seed and the seed keepers among us believe they can. They see, seed, and re-seed their great expectations and faith that we can meet this moment—these many moments—for and with the seeds in our crops, in our wildlands, in our communal food and festivals, art and ceremonies. For the seeds in our collective hearts, minds, and bodies—our hopes, prayers, and blessings.”

Sarah Beck: Thank you. That was wonderful. I could listen to you all day reading.

I really appreciate you being here today, Jennifer. It was such an amazing conversation. Thank you.

Jennifer Jewell: I really appreciated being here, and I love that this is being shared with Pacific Horticulture membership and listeners and the Garden Futurist podcast.

I am a huge fan and supporter of the work of Pacific Horticulture. May it continue to grow great things.

To order What We Sow, by Jennifer Jewell, click the image above.

Sarah Beck: Something that I talked to Jennifer Jewell about, and I’d really love your reaction to this, Adriana, because you have worked for a long time in this field where you’ve been involved in tracking biodiversity loss and plant species conservation, maybe in the global conversation sense.

But there was also a really interesting conversation with Jennifer about grassroots and community work and seed libraries and and Indigenous communities, and just a lot of conversation about much more small-scale—but just as important—conversations about preserving plants and a lot of time those are food plants.

It’s weird how sometimes we don’t end up talking about all these things in the same—

Adrianna López-Villalobos: In the same package?

Sarah Beck: Yeah, in the same package. Right. To use a good seed word.

Adrianna López-Villalobos: She really does a really good job at like helping us understand why we often think about them as two separate things when we treat food plants and basically the agricultural systems and efforts toward conservation, restoration, the thing that joins these two approaches is actually seed, right?

We have been largely focused on what can we eat, what do we like to eat? And that is being moved as human populations, and therefore it’s becoming part of our culture and our traditions and where we are at.

But plant conservation, plant restoration, the challenges we’re facing with biodiversity now are more contemporary.

We are wired to think about seed associated to plants that we consume that we use for medicinal purposes or food, and then seed that we now need to use in order to bring back what we lost.

Sarah Beck: Right, like you were saying, a wild population of plants in a restoration environment, it’s still the same plant genetic conservation.

Jennifer also brings up the point that as gardeners, we can and should relate to this story on so many levels. It’s in a way why she did such a careful job giving us that balanced perspective of bringing it back home, talking about this personal natural history of a place, connecting to the landscape where you are. The thing that we always talk about at Pacific Horticulture is finding that path to connect to your place and understanding, if it’s climatic elements, seasonal change, like what does it really mean to be in that one spot on this planet where you live?

And to really embrace that is also I think grounding in a way, gives you an ability to look at bigger, much more difficult issues, especially around plants.

Jennifer Jewell: I think people hear the word seed and they think, “Oh, that’s going to be so great. I love seeds and they’re so and they’re out this time of year.” This is so not an easy book. It wasn’t an easy book to write. It wasn’t an easy book to feel through. It is a big lift for the reader and it certainly was for me.

Yet one of the things that is clear to me is had it just been another book about how beautiful and diverse seeds are, which is a great takeaway or a book on the coevolution of seeds on this planet as it relates to our economics in the world, you know—and there are plenty of those books out there—or just the seed science or how to save seed in your garden and what a great act that is and the actual techniques of that which are its own thing.

I’ve been doing this for 20 years and it was really important to me to not shy away from what a big and complicated, often disturbing, but also uplifting topic and element of our world seed is. In all those facets, right? As science, as ecology, as personally meaningful to us in our gardens and our native landscapes, and what it means to cultures across time and space.

I have read The Seed Garden, I have read The Triumph of Seeds, I have read The Seed Underground, I have read the Kew Millennium’s beautiful photographically—and they are all fabulous resources, but in trying to bring them all together, which I may or may not have done perfectly, it just for me would have felt abbreviated. It would have felt like to not have them all in one place, given what I do and how I talk about our gardened world, would have been disingenuous and unfulfilling.

So it was important to me to try and tie together our garden edible seed with our native plant ecosystem restoration seed, our commodity-level poison seed with the cultural understanding that these are ancestors and that it is essentially analogous to throwing petrochemicals all over our grandmother.

And to get all of those voices in one place, because this book is also not necessarily a binary. “Like this is good seed. This is bad seed. Here’s what you as a gardener who cares should do.” It could never be that because there are pros to GM technology in our world. There are pros to patents in our world. But there are also so many cons because we haven’t quite done it right, or really done due diligence on how to tend to that level of how we are engaging with the natural world. That for me, I fall on the anti-GM and the anti-patent side because we are not overseeing these relationships particularly well and I am just 100,000 percent on the side of cultural seed keepers who say this is sacred stuff and we need to be paying more attention on all of these levels, because they are actually all the same thing, which is seed.

Sarah Beck: I absolutely acknowledge the amount that you put into this book. And you’re absolutely right. I certainly hope that no one would be scared away from delving into this because it is somewhat of a hard book, because I think it’s also extremely rewarding and I love that you embraced the complexity of these of these issues. It’s so important. I also really appreciate you bring the gardener’s perspective.


Buttala, Lee and Shanyn Siegel. 2015. The Seed Garden: The Art and Practice of Seed Saving. Seed Savers Exchange.

Hanson, Thor. 2015. The Triumph of Seeds. New York: Basic Books.

Ray, Janisse. 2012. The Seed Underground: A Growing Revolution to Save Food. White River Junction: Chelsea Green Publishing.

Fry, Carolyn, Sue Seddon, and Gail Vines. 2011. The Last Great Plant Hunt The Story of Kew’s Millennium Seed Bank. Richmond: Royal Botanic Gardens.




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