Sources for heirloom seeds contiue to shrink. Each year more small seed companies are bought out by the large conglomerates. It tends to be the small local seed company that specializes in heirlooom seeds for that particular area. When the large company buys them, they are no longer interested in preserving genetic diversity or serving the local area’s gardening needs. They usually drop the slow sellers and focus on bigger production and commercial customers.
Heirloom vegetables have been relatively new to the average consumer as of the past 10 – 20 years, but have been an integral in creating the global food heritage we know of today. Heirlooms are generally characteristic of their unique appearance, outstanding flavor and texture and of course a compelling history. Many people are surprised to learn that there are thousands of heirloom varieties unknown to the public and many of them disappearing.
So why are treasured heirloom varieties disappearing? Currently, 75% of the global seed market is governed by 10 companies, uniformity, mass production, perishability and transportation are essential in their business model. These represent some of the many characteristics of heirlooms, from their quirky appearance, to their delicate nature and of course their inability to be mass-produced. The reality is that it took our ancestors 10,000 years to establish the array of foods that are available to us, a mere 100 years we had 96% more varieties to choose from. So why are heirlooms so much better? They conserve the genetic diversity of crops, preserve history and culture, promote bio-diversity and strengthen our eco-system through building soil and creating disease/pest resistant and drought tolerant seeds
We encourage you to grow and eat heirloom vegetables, for the good of your health and the future of our people. You can also get heirloom seeds that are packaged for long term storage and will last 50 years in the freezer with good germination. Check out Down to Earth Seeds.