Part of the planning process for the spring is to decide which seeds to plant and how to save the seeds for next year. Seed saving seems simple in theory yet is quite complicated given the many threats that exist to ensure a seed’s genetic traits stay true from seed to seed. The threat of pesticide contamination, unintentional cross-pollination, even lack of pollination, all directly affects a plant’s ability to reproduce.
I have learned that saving seeds represents much more than saving a few dollars on seed for the next growing season. Saving seed means future generations of family and community will have access to non-genetically modified foods that carry a direct connection to their ancestors.
The fear of our agricultural seed supply and therefore our food supply being completely taken over by global seed companies is coming closer to a reality with the proposed omnibus Bill C-18. The “Agricultural Growth Act” will change many aspects of farming in this country by giving more power and control to multi-national agri-businesses like Monsanto. It’s all very ‘seedy’ politics and business indeed.
What scares me the most are the changes to plant breeders’ rights and how that will turn our food supply into more of a genetically modified mess than it is now. The loss of the biodiversity and genetic traits that make agricultural seeds unique and adapted to local growing conditions will be one of many consequences.
I feel it important now more than ever to look to alternative food systems to feed our communities. Farmers markets, community supported agriculture, market gardens, community gardens, farm gate sales and home gardens are all ways to support positive food change. Supporting true grassroots food initiatives will put us on the path to food sovereignty.
Seeds are also delicious. Roasted winter squash seeds make a great snack. Next time you’re cooking with winter squash, save the seeds to eat. If planted you may not get the squash you originally planted because of cross-pollination. I’m going to plant some of these to see what pops up anyway.
Here is how I prepare mine:
Wash and pat seeds dry. Toss them in a small amount of olive oil.
Bake at 300F on a baking sheet for 10 min or until they are golden brown.
Season with salt or any dry seasoning of your choice. Yum!
Come out to the “Community Chef Pancake Challenge” next Monday March 3 at 5pm, Six Nations Community Hall in Ohsweken. Free food and a good time celebrating delicious, healthy food! I will be cooking alongside Chef Joleen General of Heavenly Sweets and Chef Rich Francis of Aboriginal Culinary Concepts.