715: What Is happening in the world of seeds.
A chat with an expert on seeds.
At least ten times a year we have a live Seed Saving Class with Bill McDorman, the former Executive Director of Rocky Mountain Seed Alliance, Ketchum, Idaho. He got his start in the bio-regional seed movement while in college in 1979 when he helped start Garden City Seeds. In 1984, Bill started Seeds Trust/High Altitude Gardens, a mail order seed company he ran successfully until it sold in 2013.
Come join us for the next live class, or catch up on our previous classes through our podcast episodes. Either way you will expand your seed knowledge and gain new perspectives on your food system.
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In This Seed Chat:
This is the December 2022 class discussing what is happening in the world of seeds. Bill McDorman recently returned from the 9th Session of the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture in New Delhi. He shares what he learned about how the world is protecting the genetic resources of smallholder farmers in the global south who contribute so much to the diversity and genetic pool of our precious seeds.
You can watch video of the Navdanya farmers singing on seedsave.org!
– Sessions occur every 4 years when the governing body meets to implement and work out details of the treaty
– 140 countries originally signed the treaty, but the US was a holdout
– Simplifying it into 2 factions: smallholder farmers vs the “global north”
– In the 8th session, Bill became the first from the US to represent the smallholder farmers
– Lessons learned from sitting in a room with people from over 100 different countries
– DSI – digital sequencing information
– One perspective: “There is no innovation without privatization.”
– 9 sessions in, and the details are still being discussed
– The treaty was started because the global north wanted continued access to genetic material
– Bill’s opinion is that we need every system right now
– Sitting down for coffee with the US representative, the first time anyone on the smallholder side had spoken with him
– The most striking things about the conference
– How Bill came to be accepted in the smallholder community
– The only way to keep the diversity going is to support the small farmers
– Controlling seeds is difficult due to the porosity of the world and the portability of seeds
– Join Rebecca Newburn at the 11th Annual Seed Library Summit on Saturday, February 11, 2023. Go to Seedlibraries.net
– Bill’s “small world” experience
– We have lost approximately 90% of our diversity in our farms and gardens.
– Gene banks are no longer the solution. 1. Those varieties haven’t been planted in climate change conditions. 2. We can’t afford to grow them out.
– There is no institution that can save us. It’s the smallholder farm network that is important.
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