"These [genetic] resources stand between us and catastrophic starvation on a scale we cannot imagine. In a very real sense, the future of the human race rides on these materials. The line between abundance and disaster is becoming thinner and thinner, and the public is unaware and unconcerned. Must we wait for disaster to be real before we are heard?”
Professor Jack Harlan, plant geneticist
Who We Are
Indigenous Seed Initiative is the intuitive vision of Terance Miller. Terance is a Botanist-Ecological farmer with twenty years of organic sustainable farming experience. He has an extensive background in ecology, sustainability, ecological agriculture, bio-organic farming, seed saving, astronomy, botany, plant morphology, soil microbiology, herb farming, nutrition, anatomy & physiology and therapeutic herb formula design & manufacturing.
Together with co-founders Ruby Olisemeka, a home, school and community garden builder and educator; and Tendaji, a Certified Holistic FoodCare Specialist, Wellness Chef, Eating AstroPsychology Coach and Founder of a wellness ministry-Food As Nutrition are establishing a seed depository and company that places emphasis on collecting wild and pre-heirloom seeds. Our focus is on collecting, preserving and multiplying the ancient treasures of the past that possess the original genetic material of edible foods.
We use the term indigenous seed to denote wild, or as close to wild seeds as one can get, this also includes select heirloom and pre-heirloom varieties.
We also use the term indigenous to embody both the cultural and genetic value of a seed. Seeds are closely tied to the indigenous people of a land, as a source of nutrition, as part of a spiritual system and as a way to bind the collective. We honor and celebrate the power of the indigenous seed and plant.
What we do
- We search, explore and identify wild, pre-heirloom, and heirloom varieties we believe represent a genetically vigorous seed stock
- We procure identified seeds and grow it out for seed crop
- We sell saved seeds to growers, and encourage them to be independent of us and save their own seeds
- We produce educational material to help growers seed save
Why Indigenous Seeds?
1. Indigenous/Native/Wild seeds provide greater nutritional value than their domesticated or bred varieties
"How do we begin to recoup the losses of essential nutrients? By "eating on the wild side"--choosing present-day fruits and vegetables that come closest to the nutritional bounty of their wild ancestors." Jo Robinson author Eating on the Wild Side
The following image was taken from a New York times article titled breeding the nutrition out of food. Jo Robinson shows how wild and heirloom varieties of plants pack more nutritional value than their domesticated varieties.
2. A way to maintain genetic diversity: To keep many modern bred seeds viable over time, they are often back-crossed with wild strains. Why? Contained within the wild strain is the information/genetics for a plant to thrive - wild vigor. Indigenous/native/wild seeds are often progenitors of the many varieties we see today. As we lose the diversity in our seed stock its imperative to maintain the indigenous stock to replenish this diversity.
3. We want to put the power in your hands through seed saving: Rather than placing a seed in cold storage, with access mainly to plant breeders and institutional researchers. We believe seeds need to be in the hands of growers, growing, living, developing, multiplying and being saved each year; where their benefits can be experienced in real time, and not some future catastrophic time. Collectively we can rebuild the living vault. We encourage seed saving and provide learning opportunities and educational material to support the seed saver.
4. Cultural integrity
"For us, seed holds a lot of knowledge. When we find the real seed from the elders, then we are able to bring back the original seed. When we bring back the original seed, we bring back all the cycles of life, which are recognized in our traditions. These traditions have held us together as a strong community since the beginning of time." ~Mphatheleni Maukalule, Venda, South Africa
Almost all cultures around the world have a binding relationship with seeds. The native Indians of America call themselves the "people of the corn" and have formed rituals and ceremonies around the planting, harvesting and saving of the corn seed. The Venda people of South Africa consider millet seed the most sacred seed s it connects them to Mupo, the Creation, the source of their lives, since when they were first created. It is an indigenous seed that is used in all of their spiritual ceremonies. Saving and growing indigenous seed is not only restorative for the body and ecology but also beneficial to cultures around the world as well.
The threat to food security is not just from GMO's
There are other ways corporations are affecting our food supply besides through GMO's; the varying ways are through:
Genetic Engineering: GE inhibits seed development of a species which would otherwise pass down its genetic reproductive capability; this considerably compromises its nutritive substance.The primary tropical fruits (pineapples, bananas, seedless grapes, seedless watermelon, seedless oranges, lemons, and grapefruits) eaten in America are by-products of Genetic Engineering.
Hybrids are varieties of the same species that are bred/crossed in order to create certain desired characteristics. They are called F-1. Often times breeding compromises genetic expression, diversity, nutrition and seed saving. It is often unwittingly a process of removing valuable genetic material thus making a plant susceptible to disease and pathogens. However bred plants are more uniform in growth, production and appearance.
Dehybridization occurs when a selected Hybrid offspring (f-1) becomes a stabilized open – pollinated cultivar; selecting the same offspring for 5 or more successive planting seasons in order to create desired characteristics at the compromise of genetic expression, diversity and nutrition. The end result is an open pollinated
hybrid created simply by a process of removing - breeding out valuable genetic
material thus making a plant susceptible to disease and pathogens. Most of the
so-called Heirlooms are actually pseudo-heirlooms created through this
process of Dehybridization.
Mutation Breeding is the process of exposing seeds to chemicals or radiation in order to generate mutants with desirable traits to be bred with other cultivars. Plants created using mutagenesis are sometimes called mutagenic plants or mutagenic seeds. From 1930–2007 more than 2540 mutagenic plant varieties have been released that have been derived either as direct mutants (70%) or from their progeny (30%).. Crop plants account for 75% of released mutagenic species.
Unlike genetically modified crops, which typically involve the insertion of one or two target genes, plants developed via mutagenic processes with random, multiple and unspecific genetic changes have been discussed as a concern but are not prohibited by U.S. or other country organic standards. Somewhat controversially, several organic food and seed companies promote and sell certified organic products that were developed using both chemical and nuclear mutagenesis. Several certified organic brands, whose companies support strict labeling or outright bans on GMO crops, market their use of branded wheat and other varietal strains which were derived from mutagenic processes without any reference to this genetic manipulation!
Plant breeding is in simple terms the process of creating new open pollinated breeds (that are Hybrid in essence). It is an expanding phenomena that will soon replace many true heirloom species; the new age breeders don't recognize the genetic viability of wild and indigenous species and that the older the seed the more ecologically and nutritional viable it is.
What We Need & What You Get!
We are looking for $5300 in funding. To continue purchasing seeds we have identified as wild or as close to wild as we can get. We are looking for funding to also purchase additional seed saving, seed packaging and seed storing equipment.
In return for your amazing support you get, yes seeds to grow! Indigenous, wild, pre-heirloom and select heirloom seeds to grow and benefit from and so much more!
If we do not reach our goal, we will use the money we do raise, to purchase seed stock to grow out
If your giving enthusiasm helps us exceed our goal, we can pay to have additional help on the farm this year, and purchase additional seeds and equipment.
We can make a difference, one seed saver at a time!
One way to weaken the powers of big agriculture and their systematic encroachment of seed freedom, is to save your own seeds and grow your own food!
We would like for growers to share the responsibility of "preserving the past and planting the future" by acquiring genetically viable seeds and saving those species whose environmental growing conditions are similar to your own.
We encourage growers to acquire only viable seeds so as to eventually negate the growing of mutated species that compromise the genetic and nutritional substance in plants.
We do not encourage the saving of pseudo-heirlooms - present day and recently bred species.
We encourage the study of basic seed saving principles; and through our educational offerings you will obtain such knowledge.
Thou shall not sow thy field with mingled seed Leviticus 19:19
Spread the word!
If you cant make a contribution please consider spreading the word and the knowledge of this campaign through your social networks. Share, share and share!! And don't forget to share!
Thank you and much gratitude to you all. We can change the disastrous direction agriculture is headed in, it takes one independent grower and seed saver at a time.