On Tuesday, September13, I went to the Heirloom Exposition in Santa Rosa, California. It was truly amazing. There were many vendors from seed companies, tool companies, produce, nurseries, irrigation, master gardeners, farms, gardens, restaurants. And everyone there was interested in healthy, organic food. The ripple of movement towards healthy food is becoming a tidal wave.
The keynote speakers were Jeffrey Smith from the Institute of Responsible Technology, talking about genetically modified foods and the dangers they pose to human health and the environment, Alice Waters, the pioneer of the local food movement and the Edible School Yard, and Dr. Vandana Shiva from India, who founded the movement to protect the diversity and integrity of living resources, especially native seeds.
Seed Savers Exchange defines heirloom seeds and plants as follows:
The genetic diversity of the world’s food crops is eroding at an unprecedented and accelerating rate. The vegetables and fruits currently being lost are the result of thousands of years of adaptation and selection in diverse ecological niches around the world. Each variety is genetically unique and has developed resistance to the diseases and pests with which it evolved. Plant breeders use the old varieties to breed resistance into modern crops that are constantly being attacked by rapidly evolving diseases and pests. Without these infusions of genetic diversity, food production is at risk from epidemics and infestations.
This is just the tip of the heirloom iceberg. How we grow plants, what we grow, how we take seed, how we harvest, sell and preserve this food is all part of the big picture of growing healthy, safe food, that is good for all living beings and good for the earth.
The simple act of planting food in your own home garden is an important step you can take to make a difference in your lives and your children’s lives. Choosing what to plant and how we take care of our gardens is up to each one of us.
Over the next few days I’ll be telling you about the wonderful seed companies, tool companies and more that I found there. Just know, that you’re on the cutting edge.
Even a small wooden planter box can supply you with healthy, delicious herbs for the season. Start small and keep on going.