Irish Seed Savers Association
Recently I visited the Irish Seed Savers association in Co Clare, it had been on my “to visit” list for absolutely ages and finally during a wonderful day in May I made the trip.
Having been an avid gardener/grower for numerous years I had eventually decided to save my own seeds over the past two years, on a small scale the first year, then last year I went all out and attempted to save the seed from all the plants and flowers I had growing.
At this point I would like to say that year two was a complete disaster, the seeds were not stored in the right conditions and essentially they all failed. I was back to buying more seeds.
But apart from not knowing what I was actually doing with the seeds, I wasn’t even sure if the seeds were actually open pollinated seeds (OP Seeds are naturally pollinated – by insects or wind; not enforced pollination or in-breeding). And it is in this area that the Irish Seed Savers is doing tremendous work, making it a must visit place.
Seeds are the source material for a good portion of our food source, and if you are a vegetarian like me, then it is a hefty portion of your food source. Over the years I have grown everything from peas & beans, to tomatoes, peppers, lettuce, onions, herbs, by the bucket load, potatoes, pumpkins, the list goes on and on. I have learned it is not as straightforward as plopping the seed in the earth, letting it do its thing and next thing you you know there is a fine healthy head of lettuce ready for digesting.
Growing my own vegetables had given me a deeper understanding of the seed to table process, and to the sheer volume that goes through production to keep us all fed, all of which start with that basic seed.
The ones I managed to completely eradicate this year, with my lack of knowledge. In truth we would have been in a pretty desperate situation if those seeds were actually needed to feed us the following year. But they weren’t because we have supermarkets that receive truckloads of food deliveries, and we never need to think about it.
Yet not so long ago we did, and as a skill I truly lament it passing me by.
This is why I believe open pollinated seeds are absolutely necessary. All the seeds available from Irish Seed Savers are just that, open pollinated, and can be saved, shared, while placing food security in your own hands and keeping Irish agricultural biodiversity alive and healthy.
Choosing to buy open pollinated seeds is only step one on my journey, step two will come down to me truly understand how to seed save, that part of my journey is ahead. Luckily with resources like the Seed Savers Association a short journey away I am in good hands.
To find out more details about open pollinated seeds click here
For details on the Seed Saver Association, how to become a member and shop their seed collection click here