Archives for posts with tag: seed freedom

Watch this video and see how seeds are so much a part of the commons,  in societies around the world.  Seed sharing not selling– a foundation of Food Sovereignty and therefore Food Security, as well as the continuance of culture and community…  It can all be a bit abstract, like the language I’ve just used, until you see women like these talking about the seeds that sustain their lives.

Yesterday I came across these videos and wanted to share them on Kitchen Counter Culture.

Insight Share is a really interesting organisation that brings training and video equipment to remote communities across the globe.  The idea is that people who lack economic and technical access are shared the means to tell their own stories and communicate with each other through video and internet. This movement is called “Participatory Video.” Read the rest of this entry »

(Ok, maybe I wish he weren’t doing the send-up of Yes We Have No Bananas in the fake Caribbean accent, but I like the spirit, the internationalism, the multi-lingualism, the ukelele, the laughter, and of course the campaign for preserving food diversity and localism.)

Here’s a link to Seed Freedom’s Open Letter on GMO Bananas.  It’s perhaps a bit rambling, but an incredible piece that weaves together botany, politics, history, culture and art.  Reading it I realise how little I know about the world diversity of bananas.  I also never knew the poem, La United Fruit Co., by Pablo Neruda himself!

At the core of the letter is a profound belief I share:

“We do not need biopirates and biocolonialists … falsely claiming invention and monopoly rights over these local community controlled resources and biodiverse solutions for hunger and nutrition.”

The understanding is, in patenting food through genetic modification, it can only be sold back to people in a food system that relies on a foundation of treacherous economics.  A Food Sovereignty model envisions a less abstracted and tenuous relationship of people to their food– such as they may already have, banana trees growing in local varieties where they live.   Food-as-a-Commons — common heritage, common entitlement, inalienable — is a vision which makes patenting even more preposterous.

Anyway, just wanted to share the video and the campaign.

PLANTING CORN, NOT PIPELINES : Kitchencounterculture gets fascinated by people in Nebraska reminding us of the importance of corn as a central and a symbolic food… linking climate, water and food movements … bringing together unlikely allies.   The Cowboy-Indian Alliance protests in an exciting new way.  Read on…


People in rural Nebraska are protesting the Keystone Pipeline running through their lands, and doing it in an exciting way, reflecting agricultural history and a vision for the future.. Thanks to the internet, one can live halfway across a large yet small world and find oneself piecing together a story that makes important connections between food and climate movements. Watch this local newscast:

The Cowboy Indian Alliance represents the fact that new coalitions and allegiances are necessary to a diverse Climate Movement.  Read about it via and in this link, with great photos.  The symbolism of the alliance, two groups so mythically/historically/stereotypically opposed, speaks loudly against the dangers of the Keystone Pipeline, and of the Tar Sands project too, regarding climate instability as overarching and destruction of water supplies and communities as immediate..

Climate Access describes the healing aspects of movement building that the Cowboy-Indian Alliance represents.  This link shares positive, meaningful lessons.

Read the rest of this entry »

I want to share this fascinating historical docu-poem, encountered on an Ecologist page , where you can read the full text by Heathcoate Williams. What an incredible thing this writer has done, to set this story, this biography, these food politics, to verse.

Here’s Nanjundaswamy’s obituary in The Guardian.   I am happy, via this video and poem, to have learned of his life’s work. Ten years on from his death, we are still fighting the same battles, for seeds, for people to have rights to stand up to ever more mega corporations, for foods to remain diverse and in “the commons,”– for a vision of Food Sovereignty…. For Democracy.

I wonder what my readers from India make of all this (including the uber-posh accent reading the poem).

And the really fanciful, sometimes happily straining rhymes:

Make sure to read the poem.


Last week I received some exciting seeds in a Seed Swap, yet I still need to order a few more packets of particular veg I want to grow, so I’m thinking about seeds…  I know so little really, so what I share may seem basic, or maybe not…

In a recent post on Syngenta’s  Kumato Tomatoes, I discussed some social-political-ecological problems inherent in the patenting of seeds, in this case, a hybrid variety.

This is a really good, concise piece by Vertical Veg on the problems with F1 hybrids.

Hybrids are often promoted by big seed companies, but they are less desirable for small, ecologically minded growers.  Open Pollinated seeds, as this excellent resource of a website explores:

“are naturally pollinated – by insects or wind; not enforced pollination or in-breeding.  

•contribute to food plant biodiversity

•are adaptable – they are genetically variable and therefore able to adapt to climate change, to particular landscapes and environmental conditions and evolve along with them.

can be seed-saved by farmers, market gardeners, home gardeners and allotment holders.

•seed saved will breed true-to-type plants, resembling parent plants – unlike hybrids.

•can be used to develop local varieties.

are non-GM, non-hybrid, and non-patented.”


Hello, Old Bean

The beans as runner beans were old and scraggly and would have been chewy and tough. Inside though– little magic beans, beautiful colours and telling stories of a diverse genetic lineage. It’s amazing really to LOOK at them, to hold them in your hand, and imagine they are both seeds, and security, and food for the winter too– food for indefinite duration, if stored correctly. Beans here in Britain can feel– well, there are Baked Beans, of course, donning in sugary, tomatoey glory many a Jacket Potato with Cheese. But these beans: these feel Old World, and humble, yet mysterious, Jack and the Beanstalkish, something from the past and hopefully the future, a good food future, in which people, gardeners, farmers, still save and plant seeds, a future in which we’ve retained freedom of seeds, the little amulets that communicate the magic and mystery of life-cycles.

Corporate seed control, via patents and elaborate legal regulation of sales, is so absurd I barely can understand it, except in terms of a growing trend in which common (meaning shared) resources are privatised for profit and ownership. How could any of these seeds, these precious living beans, be owned for the life that they can generate if planted and nurtured? I just don’t get it.

Seed Freedom Fortnight is upon us, please see what might be happening near you, or make something happen– even if it’s just saving seed or sharing seed or thinking about the importance of keeping our right to access, freely, joyfully, humanity’s agricultural (and culinary) heritage.


Youth and Experience

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