After a long cold winter in the northern hemisphere our thoughts mostly turn to spring. We await the opportunity for warmer outside activities: hiking, biking, photographing green instead of white, growing fresh fruits, vegetables and beautiful flowers in our garden pots and plots. We are usually not thinking about plant loss around the world.
We read and hear about wildlife extinction and the efforts being made or not. Do we think about plant extinction and how catastrophic loss might change things? There is a way to gain a two-fold reward now and for the future.
Weekly Photo Challenge ~ fresh carrot “reward”
Commercial fruits and vegetables are often bred for how well they ship, not always how well they taste. In past generations, heirloom seeds for plants with the best old-time flavor were saved and shared among friends, relatives and neighbors. One of my favorite sources for heirloom seeds and plants is Seed Savers Exchange, a non-profit organization whose mission “has been to conserve diverse but endangered garden and food crop heritage for future generations by collecting, growing and sharing heritage seeds and plants.” ~ Seed Saver’s Exchange
Seed Savers Exchange started 40 years ago in 1975 by Diane Ott Whealy and her husband Kent Whealy to honor this tradition of preserving and sharing. Before Diane’s grandfather passed on, he gave them seeds saved from two of his garden plants, Grandpa Ott’s morning glory and German Pink tomato. Grandpa Ott’s parents brought seeds with them when they immigrated from Bavaria to St. Lucas, Iowa in the 1870’s.
Colorful flowers and tasty vegetables are a reward, but there can also be a reward on a broader scale, your part in contributing to protection against plant extinction. Here’s how: Seed Savers Exchange stores heirloom varieties in back-up locations at the USDA Seed Bank in Fort Collins, CO and at Svalbard Global Seed Vault in Norway.
Norway’s Svalbard Global Seed Vault safe guards seed from 1400 worldwide seed banks. “The remarkable facility set on a rugged Arctic island off Norway is the ultimate global safety net for food security. It’s able to protect up to 2.25 billion seeds from even “doomsday” scenarios like asteroid impacts and nuclear war.”
“Instead of asking which seeds to collect and store to produce higher yields today, bank managers are beginning to ask which seeds will be valuable under different climate conditions in the future.”
“Breeders will need to scour the world’s banks for traits that can be introduced into crops to make them suitable for changes in local soils, day length, and precipitation patterns, for example…..These are the kinds of questions that nobody was thinking about before climate change came along, and particularly before the Norway seed vault came along,” Battisti said.~ National Geographic
As I decide what to plant this year, I like the thought that my selection of seeds also supports the big impact of saving biodiversity for future food and plant security. Everything counts. ~ Vicki
To see other photo interpretations of “reward” you may want to visit the Daily Events photo challenge page.
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