I began the fall growing season this year with 4 rattlesnake bean seeds, gifted from a friend. I am now on my third crop, all because of saving seed from one bean per crop. ONE.
This January I read a book called ” the seed keeper”, a book following an Indigenous woman’s life in Dakota. It was rich and beautiful and heart breaking. A story of family & community, ancestors, the wealth that comes from growing your own food and working in unison with the land. Even though it is fiction, many of the events are histotical facts or are actual journeys of indigoneous women who were interviewed for the writing of the tale.
One common theme (hence the name sake), is the importance of the keeping of the seeds from generation to generation.
At the end of the story, I was thinking about all of the Native seeds that have been lost over the years…how many variety of seeds now extinct in the name of “assimilation”.
How better off would our food supply be, how much less pest problems we would have; how we would be less reliant on GMO corn and soy subsidies had indigenous people been able to keep their own seeds and still be growing them today? How much more abundant would our crops produce had the seeds been acclimated to thousands of years of growing in our region?
At home, each of my single rattlesnake bean plants have produced an abundance of beans and all I save is one bean to grow the next crop.
I started with 4 seeds, have been able to harvest beans for my family spanning 2 seasons.
Saving our seeds is important. Remembering lost seeds (so that history doesn’t repeat itself), is just as important.