Many seeds are just as endangered as the most endangered animals on this planet, and in the last one hundred years over 94% of our vegetable seed varieties have been lost, replaced with mass marketed “resistant” varieties controlled by large seed companies such as Monsanto and Bayer seeds. This loss of genetic diversity is a catastrophe waiting to happen, as genetic diversity is the key to survival!
Lumper potatoes were the staple of the Irish diet until potato blight wiped out most of the crops, leaving millions to starve to death. As only one or two varieties were grown which all shared the same genetic characteristics the disease could spread rapidly. This is a perfect demonstration on the dangers of mono-crops and lack of genetic diversity.
Seed: The Untold Story tells the story of the tragic loss of millions of seed varieties, I would highly recommend this film.
The last survey on seed diversity was carried out in 1983 (America) and showed some startling statistics.
- Out of 544 varieties of cabbage only 28 remain
- Out of 158 varieties of cauliflower only 9 remain
- Out of 55 varieties of kohlrabi only 5 remain
- Out of 34 varieties of artichoke only 2 remain
- Out of 288 varieties of beetroot only 17 remain
- 96% of varieties of corn have been lost
- 96% of varieties of celery have been lost
- 94% of varieties of onions have been lost
- 94% of varieties of radish have been lost
- 91% of varieties of melon have been lost
- 94 % of varieties of cucumber have been lost
- 91% of varieties of aubergine have been lost
Everyone of us can help by growing heritage varieties of vegetable and preserve what little seed variety we have left and show people the wondrous varieties of gourds, carrots, beetroots and the like which are available. Garden organic has a range of heritage, organic seeds available to get you started.