Our Green Gurus

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To seed or not to seed?


Michelle Darlington from Seed It Up.

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By guest blogger Michelle Darlington from Seed It Up. www.seeditup.com.au

In the past ten years or so we have seen extraordinary shifts in the way we talk about food, its source, production and the ever-increasing trend toward urban farming in our cities.

It seems obvious to me that this is not a random movement but rather a timely one, that is a result of a ‘counterbalance’ to the chaotic world around us and the inner desire to connect to each other and maintain a connection to the cycles of nature – the only problem is, we love to take short cuts!

One of the first things we do when we decide to start a garden, or get the urge to grow some fresh food, is go to the local nursery and buy some seedlings with the thought "I’ll just get the garden happening and get some seeds later”. As much as I am accustomed to the ‘short cut’ version, I have also experienced the great joy that comes with sowing seeds and watching them break through the soil searching for light and life itself.

There is something innately thrilling about being a part of the cycle of life. You see, a seed is literally what I call a pod of possibility. It will remain in its dormant state until three basic conditions are present: a growing medium, water and sun. When you take the road less travelled and actually plant seeds you connect with the entire cycle, a greater sense of responsibility has now been bestowed upon you and there is a far greater chance your seedlings will grow into healthier plants having adapted to their environment sooner.

Now this all might sound a little too esoteric for some but if we are really serious about our food and where it comes from then we must start at the very beginning of the chain. In taking responsibility for the entire cycle we now come up against some very interesting and often difficult issues – the commercial world of seeds and the 'control' of seed production.

The hardcore reality is that crop diversity worldwide is diminishing, seeds are being genetically modified, patented and literally controlled by companies such as Monsanto, DuPont and Syngenta. In an urban farming environment it is easy to overlook the bigger picture of the farming world, but in fact it is essential that we in the cities become aware of the fragility of our food chains and help support small organic growers and producers who are committed to saving seeds for our future.

So when next you ask the question "to seed or not to seed?" in your garden, take the time to research a little about the seeds you are buying. Make sure the seeds you purchase are organic or heirloom, meaning old traditional open-pollinated seeds, no hybrids, no GMOs and no chemical treatment. Then, and only then, can we say we are in control of the food we eat.

Now that you’re inspired to grow from seed, get expert tips on how to plant your precious seeds here, and check out Michelle's organic seeds here.