Friday, April 18, 2008

Seeding the Future

"I'm going to give you a generalized genetic breeding program for the future of agriculture. Step one: Save seeds from your favorite free-living plants. Step two: Resow those seeds in a seed bed. Step three: Keep the seeds from your most productive plants. Step four: Resow those seeds in a seed bed. Keep selecting for every change that increases yield and usability. If you repeat that process 400 times you can go from a big bushy grass to a primitive corn. You do it 400 more times, that primitive corn can move out from one teeny tiny little valley in Mexico and it can adapt from Chile to Minnesota, from sea level to 10,000 feet elevation. Just doing those four things."
- Frank Morton, Wild Garden Seed

You can read the profile of Frank that I wrote for Edible Portland magazine.

Photo by Karen Morton.


Anonymous said...

I'm sort of late to the party, but do you have any updates on the GMO sugar beets being grown in the Willamette Valley?

I understand a Judge banned the planting and the USDA is attempting a run around and these beets may well have been planted already.

As a new seed saver and gardner attempting to grow nearly all my own food annually, I am deeply concerned.

Does anybody know the location of these crops, given we need at least 5 miles to ensure there is no cross pollination?

Any info is most appreciated!


Kathleen Bauer said...

Good websites to monitor on the issue are the Organic Seed Alliance blog and the Center for Food Safety, both plaintiffs in the GMO sugar beet suit.

According to a press release from the Center for Food Safety, on Nov. 30 Judge White ordered the immediate destruction of hundreds of acres of genetically engineered (GE) sugar beet seedlings planted in September after finding the seedlings had been planted in violation of federal law.