Reproducible seeds are seeds from plants that are able to produce new generations of the same plant. This is true for open pollinated varieties. Most Heirloom seeds are open pollinated, hence reproducible. Hybrid and GMO seeds don’t produce plants with good reproducing seeds – also, hybrid and GMO seeds have patents on them from the seed-companies, hence are legally not allowed to be reproduced by farmers.
MYTH: Farmers earn more with reproducible seeds:
Many NGOs and non-farming consultants support the idea of supplying farmers with reproducible seeds. Their intension is good, they want to enable farmers to spend less or nothing for the seeds and to be independent from seed-companies. Indeed, the aspect of reproducible seeds plays an important role in grain farming. But for many other plantations, seed reproducibility is not an issue. For farmers planting vegetables, extracting reproducible seeds from harvested vegetables and fruits is too elaborate. At the same time, in vegetable farming, only less than 10% of the total cost of inputs are born by the seeds – regardless if open pollinated or hybrid seeds are used. The bulk of the investment for vegetable farmers is attributed to labor, fertilizers, pesticides, trellising and watering. It is economically much more advantageous for the farmers to buy a new pouch of fresh vegetable seeds from the seed-company and not to extract seeds from their previous harvest. Other advantages of buying a new pouch of seeds are the standardized and high germination rate guaranteed by the seed-producing company for open pollinated as well as for hybrid seeds. In vegetable and fruit farming, it is even more advantageous to purchase the slightly more expensive hybrid seeds due to their very specific characteristics of the vegetables like shape, color, pest-resistance, taste and quantity of harvest per plant. Hence, buying non-reproducible hybrid seeds ensures that the farmers have a much safer overall investment, and a much higher guarantee of a successful harvest and salability to the market. The key for totally poor backyard farmers is not that they extract seeds from their vegetables but that there are very small quantities of high quality seeds available. This enables the poor to start with a very tiny investment in the first planting circle and over the months and years increase their production area, investment and profit.
The term Organic Seeds is often used synonymously to open pollinated, heirloom or generally to reproducible seeds as opposed to Hybrid or GMO seeds. Indeed, Organic Seeds are mostly open pollinated, reproducible seeds and sometimes even heirloom seeds. However, in some countries like in Germany, the term Organic Seeds specifically refers to seeds only that are bred at organic farms. Organic farms have subscribed to certain farming rules that are in harmony with nature, regulating among others, the kind of pesticides and fertilizers to be used. The idea of having organic farms breed and reproduce Organic Seeds is to have seeds that are especially adapted to organic farming techniques with their special requirements of disease resistance, nutrient availability and competitiveness to weeds. In the long run, organic farms might have sufficient supplies of Organic Seeds so that they would need to use those seeds only. Regarding health benefits, there is no difference between food that is produced from organic seeds compared to food produced from seeds of other seed producers.
The currently used food guide pyramid is still suggesting that the biggest share of daily consumed food should be grains, namely food which is high in starches and carbohydrates. However, the increasing number of people suffering from obesity, diabetes and cancer is rather suggesting to reduce grains and instead have non-starchy vegetables as the main food intake. What has been a blessing over thousands of years, basically from around 6,000 BC until the end of the 20th Century, seems to become a threat to health now. Main reasons might be that for the past thousands of years, people were “born to move”. All activities, from farming to building temples, involved enormous physical effort. Even during the 20th Century, the share of people involved in jobs with physical movements was much higher compared to now in the 21th Century. The same is true for children: While kids would still walk or ride their bikes to and from school and leisure activities 20 years ago, they are now taken by car from door to door. Recently increasingly, everybody is sitting in front of computers, either for work or for leisure or both. The consequence is that we’re all eating far too much energy through grain intake compared to what we burn.
At the same time, the grains are more and more refined, hence containing even more sugars and less minerals and dietary fiber, hence adding to the fact of overfeeding energy.
In addition, another aspect comes in: Grains, especially refined grains, have the effect of forming acidity in our bodies. Studies are meanwhile suggesting that cancer cells are much more likely to develop in an acidic environment. Food that acts alkaline in our bodies are almost all vegetables and fruits.
Considering obesity, diabetes and cancer, adults might be well advised to eat 60-70% of non-starchy vegetables and divide the remaining 40-30% on shares of meat and starches. Children might still need a bigger share of grains due to their need to grow. Also, children would naturally run and play after food-intake while adults would continue to sit and chat over a cup of coffee…
Aside from reducing grains and starches another essential aspect to keep our bodies healthy is daily sport. This will not only burn any surplus of energy but also help maintaining a good circulation system and other benefits. We’re born to move.
The Neolithic time was about 10,200 BC and ending between 4,500 and 2,000 BC. The Neolithic Revolution or Agricultural Revolution, was the wide-scale transition of many human cultures from a lifestyle of hunting and gathering to one of agriculture and settlement. Farming of domesticated species created food surpluses that made possible to handle an increasingly larger population especially around fertile areas. These settled communities permitted humans to have workforce available for other activities, not hunting and gathering. Hence agriculture was the key development in the rise of human civilization and the product of the Agricultural Neolithic Revolution was advanced civilization with pyramids and temples (Mesopotamia, 6,000 BC, Egypt, 3,000 BC). An essential role played the development and planting of the first cereal crops, which satisfied much more people and provided much more energy to the workforce than berries, fruits and vegetables. In addition, cereal crops are easy to handle and store. Since then, cereal crops are our staple food.
The Paleolithic Age is a prehistoric period of human history that extends from the earliest known use of stone tools 2.6 million years ago to the end of the Pleistocene around 8,000 BC.
The paleo diet or stone-age diet is based mainly on foods presumed to be available to paleolithic humans. During the 2.6 million year long Paleolithic era, the highly variable climate and worldwide spread of human population meant that humans were, by necessity, nutritionally adaptable. In contrast, supporters of the diet assume that human digestion has remained essentially unchanged over time. The diet typically includes vegetables, fruits, nuts, roots, meat, and organ meats while excluding foods such as dairy products, grains, sugar, legumes, processed oils, salt, and alcohol or coffee. A Paleo lifestyle and ideology have developed around the diet. The Paleo diet is promoted as a way of improving health. Limited data exists on the metabolic effects on humans eating the diet, though the available data suggest following this diet may lead to improvements in terms of body composition and metabolic effects as compared to the typical Western diet. The diet is based on avoiding not just modern processed foods, but rather the foods that humans began eating after the Neolithic Revolution when humans transitioned from hunter-gatherer lifestyles to settled agriculture.
I found this Tomato Sorter in Malaysia in the Highlands.
Genetically modified varieties (GMO) are bred by some specialized seed companies under laboratory conditions. Genetic engineering techniques are used to add a gene into the plant which does not occur naturally in the species. The purpose is to develop insect-resistant, pesticide-tolerant or even pesticide-producing crops. Currently, GMO plants cultivated are tobacco and cotton, as well as corn, canola and soybeans, either for animal feeds or for biofuel. However, already developed are GMO-vegetables such as potatoes, tomatoes, squash and also GMO-rice
Hybrid seeds are bred by seed companies. With small brushes or similar tools, female parents are pollinated with male pollen. To avoid open-pollination, the parents grow in greenhouses. Through this controlled breeding, uniformity of fruits and vegetables in shape, color, high yield, disease or drought resistance and other characteristics is achieved. However, the seeds of these fruits and vegetables will not produce a good new generation of those plants.