Author Topic: The Ethics of Seed Saving  (Read 413 times)

Jeremy Weiss

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The Ethics of Seed Saving
« on: 2020-11-14, 09:36:28 AM »
This is sort of a continuation of the Seed Stewardship thread already posted below (as it is 180+ days plus, they said start another thread)

In my case,  there is always a dilemma in seed saving or more accurately, in seed growing. While I am good at finding odd seed, I have little luck actually cultivating a garden (bad soil, ravenous animals all sorts of reasons), So I have sometimes wondered if I am doing the right thing by even trying; if it might not be better to simply pass on ALL seed I find to someone more "deserving". But on the other hand, I LIKE to grow thing, and really DON'T like the idea of ceding all control over to other people (still less basically becoming a seed piggybank expending all of the money and then giving away the fruits of my labor)

Chance

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Re: The Ethics of Seed Saving
« Reply #1 on: 2020-11-18, 01:26:45 PM »
Iíve had a similar issue for years, due to many factors as you say including the instability of modern life.  Hopefully things will begin to stabilize for me the next couple years, but being able to own land is not an easy prospect for many these days.  In my experience entrusting rare varieties to others is a near 100% failure.

Ocimum

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Re: The Ethics of Seed Saving
« Reply #2 on: 2020-11-18, 03:04:34 PM »
I've also had bad experiences giving out seeds and expecting their offspring in return, but it has gotten better now. I have a lot of seeds (also segregating) that I give out to beginners, and when I absolutely need something back, I only give it to people whom I am often in contact, and who have been gardening for years.

Jeremy Weiss

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Re: The Ethics of Seed Saving
« Reply #3 on: 2020-11-18, 03:45:18 PM »
     That's sort of is the crux of the problem for me. When I give out seed,  I lose control of where I want the project to go. People don't want to grow my seed the way I want it to be grown, they want to grow it the way they want to.

     Corn is a good example. Most of my corn comes from kernels I pick off of ears I find at farmer's markets in the fall that have some trait or combination of traits that look interesting to me. As a result, it tends to be in need to several years of cleaning up (inbreeding) to make sure the stuff is strong for the trait and it is transmittable. But nearly everyone who has wanted any of my corn doesn't want to take time to do that and simply wants to put it into their own corn grexes as is. And when whatever trait I noted disappears because it was weak for it and my handful of seed was diluted by being tossed into several pounds of other corn seed at planting, they usually say it was MY fault for not giving them more seed, and demand I cough up EVERYTHING I have.

I share when I can, but there are a few who think that is not good enough, and they have more right to my seed than I do. 


Steph S

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Re: The Ethics of Seed Saving
« Reply #4 on: 2020-12-30, 10:25:08 AM »
Speaking of 'rare' and 'not enough' I was so excited to see a few Eezer wheat coming up after sowing this fall.   And then... some critter ate them, apparently.  Grazed and gone. :o  I put chicken wire over it right away, but I guess it was wrong size of animal.  A collossal slug maybe got em.
When I got the seeds I thought about where to plant them.  Thought about splitting the pack between two or three sites to maximize the chance of success.  But in the end it was 'hurry up and do this' so I just made one bed for them and in they went.   There weren't that many that you would make much of a stand in more than one place, anyway.
But now I regret that thought.
Well, win some lose some.   Who knows, maybe some will come up in the spring?   
But if you do have enough seed, it's worth it to get it going in another place.  I have a couple of friends who have gotten things going with plants I shared out to them, when mine didn't make it.  So there is value in hedging your bets that way.
One thing I have learned over time is not to expect much back from seed shared out.  It might come back some day.  Some folks who enjoyed the plants will at least thank you for that, and if they save seeds they may end up with something to share back.   Ultimately if you care about the project you will eventually do the work yourself to finish it.