Friday, 15 February 2008

The Zero Mile Diet Seed Kit

The weather today was unseasonably warm. That distinctive Spring-like smell was in the air, and what's more, I could take a deep breath of this lovely smell without my nostrils freezing together. That made it official: it is time to order seeds!

I have ordered seeds from the Salt Spring Seeds company over the past two years, and I was perusing their website again today, when I came across this new addition to their seed catalog: the Zero Mile Diet Seed Kit. It contains a variety of seeds for growing plants suited to...well here, Salt Spring Seeds owner Dan Jason explains it best:
This kit is for gardeners or groups of gardeners eager to become more self-reliant in food. The 12 seed packets contained in it are Blue Tinge Ethiopian Wheat, Faust Barley, Golden Flax, Multi-hued Quinoa, Amaranth Mix, Heritage Bean Mix, Darlaine Soup Pea, Winnifred's Garbanzo, Manitoba Soybean, Russian Kale, 20 Lettuce Blend and Amish Paste Tomato. Included in the box, apart from the seeds, is a 20-page comprehensive growing guide. A treasure trove of possibilities for the ardent grower!
Dan and his colleagues have been saving seeds for over 20 years and he encourages and teaches others to do the same. His seed and plant sanctuary is a repository for heritage and heirloom seeds and plants, all of which are non-treated, open pollinated and non-GMO. Dan emphasizes the importance of saving seeds, and taking back control of our food supply from agri-business:
The agriculture we now have is all about ownership, secrecy and control. It designs Terminator seeds. It blasts genes from foreign species into seeds so that plants can survive powerful herbicides and pesticides. It tells farmers what seeds they are allowed to grow.
This isn't right. Food shouldn't be privatized and monopolized by a select few. Instead it should be a common, public, diversified endeavor. We can change this, one garden at a time.

So I will place my order for the Zero Mile Diet seed kit this weekend, and probably order a few other herbs and vegetables as well. And I'll daydream of a garden filled with plants from which I can gather seeds, like I did when I was a kid with my mom, collecting seeds from the daisy-like flowers growing beside our house.

Here is a taste of Dan Jason's vision: (go here for the complete text)
The knowledge of how to grow sustainably already exists. It can be tapped into and enhanced in myriad ways. Around the world people are feeling and thinking that it is time to create the world we want rather than to fight the world we don't want.... When you save seeds, you realize with each harvest how magnanimous nature is in gifting us with the opportunity of multiplying her goodness.

...We need to replant our earth garden with the diversity that is so innately hers. We need to nourish ourselves by nourishing and celebrating the carrying capacity of each place instead of insanely transporting food thousands of miles.... We can turn wasteland into farmland and deserts into forests. We can make the earth a place where no one suffers for a lack of healthy food, pure water or clean air.
That's a vision that can become reality, one seed at a time.


Chile said...

The seed kit is a great idea!

DC said...

This is a really good idea. It is possible to grow much of your own food, even in urban area. The city of Havana grows 50% of the produce eaten by its residents within the city (on vacant lots and in rooftop gardens), and most of the food production throughout Cuba is now done locally. You can read more about it here -- it’s a very inspiring story.

Theresa said...

I'm looking forward to receiving my seed kit and trying to grow more of my own food. With the price of wheat doubling recently, growing our own food is becoming a real concern for me. I've decided that all but one of my containers I normally use for ornamental plants will also be used for food plants or herbs this year. I've got a lot to learn and I need to use all the space I can to find out what grows best in this climate. I will save one container to grow pansies in - they are so cheerful and hardy, I need them for inspiration. And, come to think of it, the petals are edible too!