Seed Saving Programs in Florida
The COVID 19 pandemic created a seed shortage among small and organic farmers. It was another example of supply chain weaknesses.
The Florida Food Forum recently hosted an online discussion about the contemporary processes and practices of seed saving and they might prevent future seed supply disruptions.
Melissa Desa of the Working Food non-profit in Gainesville, Florida hopes to encourage more communities in the southeast to support diverse seed saving programs.
“ We all think that local food is important and we got to see that come to light during the pandemic when the food system started faltering and coming apart at the seams and we turned to our local farms to produce food for us. The same thing was happening with seeds. If you tried to order seeds you saw that a lot of seed companies were slammed and they closed for a while. They couldn’t keep up with demand. If we had a local reproducible seed supply where most of our farmers and gardeners were saving seeds and there were seed libraries at every branch and people were sharing and swapping seeds all the time, this panicked seed buying wouldn’t have happened. We would have our own local and reproducible seed supply that’s resilient.”
Desa took part in an online discussion hosted by the Florida Food Forum, highlighting contemporary processes and practices of seed saving
Also on the forum was New Port Richey Public Library Director Andy Figart who explained how the library system started a seed exchange with donations from growers. The seed exchange is free for residents and is part of a larger program that includes books, classes, and online resources in exchange for seed donations. The University of Florida Extension Office assists the library in its education program.
The Seed Savers Exchange is another source for those who are interested in learning about seed-saving programs and practices. Growers around the world participate in seed exchanges through the website.