Guest: Bill McDorman, Executive Director Rocky Mountain Seed Alliance
Food Chain Radio Show #1176
Listen to Food Chain Radio with Michael Olson
Michael Olson, Author & Urban Farming Agriculturalist
Not too long ago, farmers saved the best seeds from this year’s crop to plant next year’s crop.
By selecting the best seeds, year after year, decade after decade, farmers were able to develop crops that were best suited to their own farms.
The crops grown from carefully selected seeds would grow much better than the store-bought seeds, simply because they knew how. The store-bought seeds, which were raised somewhere else, by somebody else, for something else, came up out of the ground as strangers in a strange land.
The crops farmers selected and developed for themselves also had something else going for them. We may as well call that something else, “character.” Farmers selected for character because it helped them get an edge on their competition in the marketplace. Who wants to eat bland uniformity, when you can eat character!
And so it was, for 10,000 years, give or take. Then, in 1980, the U.S. Supreme Court decided that private companies could patent the genetic intelligence of plants. Far-thinking entrepreneurs saw that Supreme Court ruling as a way to control the world’s supply of seeds, and the future of its food.
And so they started buying up seed companies. Today, three seed companies control 90% of the world ‘s seeds, and thus the future of its food.
Some look at this consolidation and see danger. “What if,” they ask, “something goes wrong? After all, things usually do go wrong.” And so they have begun a campaign to get one million people to start saving seeds– their own seeds.