It's estimated as much as 93% of all agricultural seeds are now extinct.
It almost doesn't seem real. How could so much of our biodiversity be lost? And how did it happen?
Well, much of the farmland is now planted with soy, corn, rice, and a few other staple crops that are subsidized and shipped around the world in mass quantities.
As an example of the scale of loss of biodiversity, between 1903 and 1983 we went from having 497 varieties of lettuce, to only 36!
Within that same 80-year period, we went from:
Peas: 408 varieties to only 25
Sweet corn: 307 to only 12
Radish: 463 to only 27
Cabbage: 544 to only 28I could go on.
Tomatoes, one of the "most successful" at avoiding extinction, still lost about 80% of its biodiversity in just the 20th century.
Think of all the tasty varieties we'll never get to try. Not to mention all the nutritional profiles and natural pest/drought resistance that likely disappeared with the loss of these crops.
Remember these are genetic traits that often take generations or hundreds of years to evolve – only to vanish without a trace.
SO WHAT DO WE DO?
In many cultures, seeds are considered sacred. And, for obvious reason. They hold the key to protecting a society's future.
As Alicia Serratos from The Need To GROW says plainly in our film, "If we don't save seeds, and all of them are gone, we won't have food."
It really is as simple as that.
One beautiful way to protect seeds is through Seed Libraries.
A seed library is incredibly easy to create. You need no experience! Just pull together:
Recycled Glass Jars - to hold seeds Envelopes - for people to check out seeds Pen or Marker - for folks to label what they took A Binder or Folder - to list some pointers of seed library etiquette, and info on different seeds Any Centrally Located Shelf (school library, community center, or just a personal collection at home)
The idea is you 'check out' seeds as you would a book at a regular library. Someone takes a handful to go plant in their garden, they grow them out, and eventually they collect the new generation of seeds to return back to the library!
This way, seeds are adapting to a region, and strengthening their flavor and resilience every time they're grown out.
Alicia had a genius idea to create a Seed Box - all the essentials to start a seed library in one convenient box. Her dream was to make it so easy, that she could send the Seed Box to anyone in the world and they could set up their own seed library in minutes.
If you were inspired by her story in the film, I hope you will join us in supporting her latest mission of good, as she continues to wow us with each new project she takes on.
A company called Seed Savers Exchange already donated 2,000 seed packets to fill Alicia's Seed Boxes before they reach their new homes. But she needs help funding the final steps of building out the resources to take this to the next level!