What Are Heirloom
Heirloom seeds are varieties
of seeds that have been saved and re-planted over generations. What allows for this is the fact that these
seeds are open-pollinated. When open-pollinated seeds are saved correctly, they will germinate and grow into
beautiful plants that your grandparents (and their parents) may have enjoyed.
choice to save seeds is an important part of a sustainable food system. It allows the gardener to participate
in preserving the existence of nourishing plants for generations to come. Heirloom varieties often
produce more interesting and tastier vegetables than those found in large chain grocery stores.
The act of
seed saving itself promotes well-being. During the process of planting, caring for, harvesting and saving
seeds, a connection to Mother Earth and her cycles can be felt and appreciated.
Hybridized and/or trademarked seeds developed
from corporate GMO companies like Monsanto-Seminis don’t give you (or anyone else) the option of experiencing
the intuitive natural act of seed saving. If the seeds are hybridized, they will likely produce sterile seeds
that don’t germinate (these are referred to as terminator seeds). If the seeds are trademarked, it is illegal to plant second generation
seeds in proceeding growing seasons.
Because the conventional food
system uses mostly hybrid seeds developed by corporate seed companies that cannot be saved for future years
(farmers must re-purchase seeds from the developer year after year), the population of heirloom seed
varieties are in danger.
In order to help save
heirloom varieties, it is important to either learn how to properly save these seed varieties yourself or to
support seed companies that do.
buying seeds from companies that meet all of the requirements below:
grow and save their own seeds using eco-friendly organic gardening practices.
are not affiliated with Monsanto-Seminis or other similar corporate hybrid seed companies.
business adds to the conservation of open-pollinated, non-genetically modified seeds.
support the stewardship of heirloom seed varieites.
Some seed companies will
offer heirloom, organic, and open-pollinated seeds, but will also sell Monsanto-Seminis seeds. Support
companies that are 100% committed to ethical seed conservation by making sure that they are not at all
affiliated with corporate hybrid seed companies like Monsanto-Seminis.
open-pollinated and non-GMO seeds and information can also be found at Seedy Saturday events held all over
Canada. For a listing of these events, visit the Seeds of Diversity website: www.seeds.ca