By Chris Smith
Janisse Ray, seed activist and author of The Seed Underground, writes:
“When seed varieties vanish from the marketplace, they evaporate not only from collective memory but also from the evolutionary story of the earth. Seeds are more like Bengal tigers than vinyl records, which can simply be remanufactured. Once gone, seeds cannot be resurrected.”
In my own experience I felt this most strongly with a small collection of ‘Big Mama’ Pole Beans I picked up at a seed swap in Alabama a few of years ago. The handwritten note that came with the beans said:
“Big Mama – at least 100 yr. heirloom green bean from Sand Mtn. area. Prolific, long purple pods.”
Receiving these beautiful little purple beans wasn’t what got me hooked on seeds; it was my inability to find information about them anywhere online. I realized that I owned something that I couldn’t buy, and I panicked!