Thursday, March 1, 2012

Seize the Seed

I am not a biologist but I am an urban farmer.  So seeds are something I'm well familiar with. I've grown food inside my home in my windows and under grow lights and outside directly in the earth and in containers.  I've gleaned bounty from seeds that I've purchased, swapped, and found.

As an urban farmer I've witnessed, many times over, the joy of the first indication of life (to the visible eye).  This first glimmer of a sprout poking up through the earth is a moment of pure joy.  It is a moment of connection.  My life symbiotically sprouts with each sprout.

A seed needs fertile ground in order to 'spring' into action.  That is why the metaphor of sperm being a seed is used.  A woman's unfertilized egg provides this fertile ground for one sperm seed to spring forth a new human life.  The birds and the bees metaphor takes this imagery back into wild life where the birds and bees provide the mechanism by which plants can bear fruit with their blossoms.  The flower blossoms are the eggs and the seeds are the pollen that is transferred by the birds and the bees.

The whole cycle of seed to fruit is the cornerstone of the circle of life and my humble practice of urban farming allows me to witness and absorb this every single calendar year.  I hope I never grow too old or feeble for this. An ideal death for me would happen in the harvest season after my latest crop has been harvested - however small that might be at that stage.

Today there are disturbing trends around the world that centre directly and indirectly around seeds.  There are multinational corporations that have successfully patented seeds (and DNA).  There are governments and religions that wish to ensure that a planted seed, in a woman's womb, stays there without asking for her opinion.  Conversely, multinational seed corporations have successfully taken farmers that have had their own fields polluted by GMO seeds to court.  The power of the seed, that same power that I feel with each and every sprouted planting, has literally been seized by the state {ergo, the corporation}.

So this spring grab some seeds at a local Seed Swap (Toronto locations are listed here).  Or go to a local farmers market (Toronto list is here) and buy some squash and harvest the seeds to plant yourself.  Imagine if all public spaces contained edible plantings (like Incredible Edible Todmorden).

Seize the seed and feel it's power.

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