Jere Gettle runs one of the country's largest heirloom seed catalogs. His mission is to preserve long-standing plant varieties and combat the growing homogenization of our food stock, along with the genetic manipulation that Big Ag is responsible for.
Preserving heirloom strains and expanding their use among small farmers and backyard gardeners is important for many reasons, including:
- reducing the impact of a large monocrop failure (heirloom strains preserve genetic diversity)
- preserving natural food-plant strains (a growing number of GMO foods have DNA not just from other plants in them, but from animals, too)
- keeping public access to seed stocks (the "growing rights" to many GMO seeds are locked up by large & litigious corporations)
- growing vegetables affordably (Big Ag practices have been driving up the price of basic foods)
- healthy eating (many of these heirloom varieties are packed with more nutrients that the monocrop produce found in grocery stores)
- sustainable farming (these seeds can be grown without the heavy chemical and fossil inputs Big Ag uses)
- preserving history (many heirloom strains have truly fascinating back stories)
In this podcast, we discuss the origins of heirloom seed preservation, the dangers of GMOs, the importance of seed saving and seed swapping among small farmers, and how the interested backyard gardener can participate in keeping these old and fascinating heirloom strains alive.
Click the play button below to listen to my interview with Jere Gettle (35m:12s):