Thursday, January 16, 2014

Irish Seedsavers need saving

Did you know that the original carrot was purple and the early corn on the cob had multi-coloured corns?? No?? You are not alone. We have forgotten how our vegetables and fruit used to look and taste. Has your mother or grandmother ever said that tomatoes don't taste like tomatoes anymore?? That is because they still remember the freshness of wonderful tomatoes before science got involved and 'reformed' them to look unified. Long shelf life was more important that the originality of each of our beautiful nature.

Beautiful carrots, the way nature created them
Because of that, we need dedicated people who care about our heritage vegetable and fruit to preserve them for generations to come. One organisation is Irish Seed Savers Association. A group of volunteers who formed Irish Seed Savers to preserve what makes Irish vegetables and fruit so unique. They have collected and cataloged more varieties than we even knew we have forgotten about. Irish Seedsavers have been supported by Slow Food Ireland as well as state funds. But these funds have been cut over the last few years and an organisation like Irish Seed Savers can't survive on merit alone - they need hard cold cash to do the important work we need them to do. We are not talking having some seeds in a little metal box at home and checking now and then that no mould has set on them. We are talking about verifying the seeds, researching its origin, storing, planting, caring, saving and cataloging. It is a big undertaking that these hardworking volunteers took upon themselves to do - for no other reason than to preserve them for our future generations. And how is the State thanking them??? They cut their funding.

Sweetcorn like a painting
You might ask, is it really that important?? The seed catalogs are full of seeds for any kind of vegetable or fruit. If you think that - that's fine but if you actually check where the seeds are manufactured (and I am saying manufactured as nature is not much involved in getting us these seeds) you might be surprised. These seeds have been developed in labs under a microscope to ensure that uniformity is achieved. Is uniformed food really that great?? I love picking a carrot out of the ground that is misshapen - the fun I had in the past makes me still giggle.

Now you might think; but what can I do?? Simple - there are several ways but I think the most important, apart from becoming a paying member of Irish Seed Savers is to write a letter to Mr Simon Coveney, Minister for Agriculture to make him aware that we all care where our food comes from and that we demand that he is taking action to save the savers. Here is the address:

Mr Simon Coveney
Minister for Agriculture, Food & Marine
Agriculture House,
Kildare St.
Dublin 2.

Tell him the importance of Irish Seedsavers, tell him that you want your children to be able to learn, grow and eat our heritage food.

Thank you for any help you can provide for the Irish Seed Savers Association. For any questions, please contact the association:

Irish Seed Savers Association,
County Clare,

Opening Hours
Tuesday-Saturday 9.30am-4.30pm


Tel 061 921856/921866

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