Saturday, May 12, 2012

WHY HEIRLOOM SEEDS ARE SO IMPORTANT, WOW!


I recently found this graphic illustration over at National Geographic and it's pretty startling to see.

It shows us that in only 80 years, if you can fathom this statistic, we have lost 93% of the variety in our foods.

Let me repeat that, we have lost 93 PERCENT of our food varieties!  What does this mean?  Well, looking at this chart, let's take cabbage for example.  In 1903 (the chart uses stats from 1903 to 1983) cabbage had 544 varieties...just 80 years later, it had only 28.  Tomatoes had 408 varieties that dwindled to 79.

This lack of biodiversity is why HEIRLOOM SEEDS are so important to us all.
Save the heirloom varieties by planting them and saving the seeds for future use.  There are many companies that sell them.  Not only are they delicious, they are unusual, unique and actually quite beautiful.


Heirloom Tomatoes
Heirloom Eggplants

29 comments:

ladyhawthorne said...

Those veggies are gorgeous, maybe I'd eat more if I could find more pretty ones! Thanks for visiting my blog, I stumbled across yours and really love hearing about your farm.

Frugal Living UK said...

That is quite shocking. I will try and grow some heirloom varieties.

AnywhereEden said...

That's a great graphic, I may have to link to it. Also, the picture isn't heirloom vegetables... those are all heirloom eggplants. Just goes to show how much we've lost, most people don't realize eggplants come in so many shapes, sizes, and colors. Great blog, Man. :)

The Stay @ Home-Gardener said...

Woah. As frugal says. Shocking. I was on my way home from work this morning (Picking up some part time work @ third shift hours) and stopped at a few places to check out their plants. Didn't come home with anything because of the store hours. Bah. BUT. I realize I wish to add a black tomato to the two varieties I am growing out front. Polish Linguista and brandywine. After this posting... all the more reason to purchase that $3.99 (4inch pot) Black Krim tomato.

The Stay @ Home-Gardener said...

Good job with the Eggplant photo. One of my favorite veggies.

kymber said...

this is why i think membership in this organization is so important!

http://www.seedsavers.org/

Tomato Thymes said...

This is why I also like to buy seeds from Baker Creek too.
Lisa

GrafixMuse said...

Many heirloom varieties taste better too. I love discovering the history of an old variety.

Jenny said...

This is why I only do heirlooms and ordered so many varieties of seeds - so I can save some from my own and continue trend.

HolleyGarden said...

Wow. I knew the number of varieties had shrunk, but I did not know to what extent! It really is shocking. I do grow heirlooms, and try to save seed, but I can't imagine how many wonderfully tasty vegetables (and their nutrient content) that we have lost. Just sad.

Texan said...

Good post!

Katel said...

I’m very new to blogging; I was searching for other blogs similar to what or where I wanted to go with mine, and came across yours last week. I really enjoyed reading yours. The heirloom seed story is great.

Bee Girl said...

Terrifying, isn't it? While we're not there yet, our ultimate goal is to grow all heirloom varieties :-)

Alison said...

Why. Not being a nature person I'm confused.

Leigh said...

It's a shocking change, isn't it? I just don't get why the Monsanto supporters don't get the danger of the direction they want to go. Great poster, great post.

1st Man said...

It is pretty amazing huh? I don't see how anyone could look at this image and not realize how important it is.

1st Man said...

Once we get the gardens going, I'm going to make that a goal as well, starting off with as many as possible and eventually I'd like it all to be heirloom varieties.

1st Man said...

Well, hello!! AND welcome!! Thank you for the kind words of course. I'm working on a longer blog posting about heirlooms and their importance. Still doing some research. Thank you again. :-)

1st Man said...

Thank you! It's so important and sometimes a simple graphical representation of a story has more impact. I know it did for me when I this at Nat Geo. Simply astounding.

1st Man said...

It's pretty stunning to see it. And that information is even older now. Can you imagine how different gardens would have looked maybe 100 years ago? And I bet dinners were even more delicious, ha. Very sad.

1st Man said...

Great point and I love that we save them and pass them along either to ourselves or friends or family. That's the awesome thing about heirlooms.

1st Man said...

Oh my, you are so right. I've had some heirloom tomatoes and they flavor is amazing. It's not just the "home grown tomato vs store bought" taste difference, it's just so much better in many respects. I'm doing some research for an article about heirlooms and I'm learning some fascinating history.

1st Man said...

By all means, no problem. The more we can spread the word the better. Thanks for the correction, I changed it to eggplants, ha. Amazingly beautiful they are huh? Thanks for the kind words too!

1st Man said...

Please do plant some. Think about it this way. With the heirlooms, you can have the initial purchase which might be a bit pricey, but then just simply save some seeds at the end of the season and you'll have them year after year. And those Black Krim's are BEAUTIFUL.

1st Man said...

GREAT organization. I posted an article about them a few months back and I donated some money to them as well. Thanks for the reminder, I should have mentioned them in the posting. I'll do a new one soon with some referenced sites.

1st Man said...

I'm not sure i get their catalog, I'm going to have to add it to the list!! :-)

1st Man said...

OK, here it is in a nutshell. Let's say, 100 years ago, you ordered seeds from a supplier for tomatoes. They had hundreds of varieties. As time goes on, and gardening becomes less "necessary" for people, and more "business/profit" for supplying produce to grocery stores, the seed companies (which are now mostly owned by big corporations) start dwindling down the varieties. For example "oh people won't eat this oddly shaped purple tomato, they want big red perfect tomatoes" so they either cross breed and create hybrids, or create genetically modified (GMO) breeds that grow fast or ship better to the stores.

Most of these seeds can't be saved and replanted from year to year which of course mean you have to buy more seeds the next year, and the cycle is repeated.

So as time goes by, unless someone was saving seeds of these older varieities, they just go away, lost forever. That's why companies that find and continue heirlooms are so important.

Hope I explained that right, ha.

1st Man said...

Thank you. They are SO pretty aren't they? I really think the grocery store companies have it wrong, I think people WOULD eat more of these varieties, but maybe that's just us wishful thinking, ha. Thanks for stopping by! :-)

1st Man said...

Isn't it? I was shocked when I saw the picture, it really boils it down to the basics. Yes, grow some heirlooms, the best thing too, is that you can save the seeds and use them over year after year (hence the heirlooom name). So in the long run it can be more frugal! ;-)