Protecting Crop Biodiversity

Seed banks and seed swapping might sound archaic to some, but in reality, they’re the foundation for the future of agriculture.

A couple hundred years ago there were at least a few hundred varieties of apples, but today, due to modern agriculture practices and the growth of corporate farming, we’ve lost so much of our agricultural biodiversity. There is a bright side though, because with the increased popularity of organic farming and farmers markets even more people want to do something about our food and it’s diversity and quality.

Biodiversity isn’t just about having different options for the table, it’s also a way to safeguard against pests and diseases that keep evolving and could wipe out entire crops (the banana is a perfect example), destroying livelihoods and even causing famines.

Corporations like Monsanto, who are just in it for profit, limit the diversity of crops, patent GMO seeds, use, and produce, extremely toxic chemicals for the “protection” crops, and reportedly, actively suppress seed swapping.. got to get that profit somehow right?

Suffice it to say, a balance must be struck between growing enough to feed the worlds population (with organic food) while protecting the biodiversity of the hundreds of varieties of the fruit and vegetables we still have.


What Can You Do to Protect Biodiversity?  

Growing your own food from heirloom and non-hybrid seeds and saving and sharing those seeds is one way that you can support biodiversity of our food. You can also source foods locally from growers who save seeds. The goal is to conserve and promote endangered garden and food crops by collecting, growing, sharing heirloom plants and supporter growers who use seeds and plants.

Get Involved With Seed Swapping and Seed Banks

Seed swapping or sharing is the act of sharing seeds with others who save their seeds. The idea is that you get to diversify your garden and keep these plants and seeds in use to protect them.

A seed bank is an organized effort to preserve seeds for future use. Seeds Savers is one of the most well-known and respected seed bank efforts. Many local libraries are actually stepping in to help facilitate local seed saving efforts. The Pima County Public Library is one such institution.


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