A visitor from Aussieland prompted this post by sharing with me that over in Australia, one can save seeds from fruits and vegetables they buy from the store. Makes me almost want to live in Australia!
Commercially grown fruits and veges are generally a hybrid of some type and sometimes even GMO(genetically modified organism). Creating a hybrid tomato that stays ripe without bruising or rotting during it's voyage from California to New York is only profitable when you're the company getting paid. Skins like vinyl, pulp with no taste. But it stays red and firm so you can buy it!
The development of hybrid seed has left seed production to seed companies for the practical reason that it is the most economical way to maintain appropriate inbred lines, and seed production can be isolated from the food production areas of open pollinating crops. But it had also prevented farmers from saving and replanting seeds, making it necessary to purchase seeds every season.
So, if you want to grow anything, you MUST PAY. Who do you pay you ask? Big Agribusiness like Monsanto, of course. Biotechnology has gone a step further and demanded that seed production be restricted to companies even when there is no rational basis for the restriction, other than corporate greed. Hybrids and GM crops lack the diversity required for sustainability in the complex ecosystems of the developing world. What is needed is seed production that takes into account the unique requirements of developing countries, where the farmers rights to save, replant and exchange seeds are integral to food sovereignty and food security. We are already losing that ability here as companies such as Monsanto have bought up seed companies and cornered seed markets around the world.
Ah, you say, but what about F1 hybrids? They make superior, uniform plants that produce spectacular crops of produce. Yes, for that one generation. Saving the seed from your harvest will give you mixed results of both the parent plants of which both might be inferior producers. so, back to buying your seeds every year defeating the purpose.
So, how do you know if the seeds you're buying are heirloom or hybrid? Good reputable seed companies still independantly owned have no qualms about saying up front that their seeds are heirloom or hybrid. There are still very good varieties of plants out there you can buy easily.
Speaking of which, my Johnnys Seed Catalog just came in! Off to gawk at all the pretty pictures!