Monday, August 22, 2011

Right Now, Because You Don't Have To Yet

Diversity Helps Prevent Disaster
The Seed Library of Los Angeles is growing by leaps and bounds!  Already our membership stands just below 200 and we have a palatable cash reserve for an organization so young.  We are on the verge of adopting a set of bylaws that will govern the Library and lead us towards our own non-profit status. All in all, it has been a very exciting 9 months.  

We had "seed-mobile" excursion, patterned after the 'book-mobiles" of book libraries, Sunday evening to the Millagro Allegro community garden.  Megan Bomba of SLOLA's Best Practices Committee gave a 45 minute talk on saving seeds and showed the easiest seeds to save.  David King, SLOLA's Chair, brought out a selection of winter seeds to share with those who joined SLOLA or were already members.  

We hope this is a first of many similar trips to the community garden's of Los Angeles.  From the very beginning, SLOLA has considered it part of their mission to serve the entire greater LA area.  Ideas abound on how to do this, but one of them is the seed-mobile.  We would like to find funding to create such a thing and make economically viable.  A seed mobile needn't be the big van that books are carried in - in fact, a bicycle could do the job, although not if we expect me to do the pedaling!  A small vehicle with room for a 2 x 3 foot box of seeds and some paper work would do the trick.  

In conjunction or not with the seed mobile, we also envision a host of neighborhood libraries that are affiliated with the library we have established at The Learning Garden.  It is part and parcel to our vision that not all our seeds are stored at one location - every single variety of seed that is a part of the library's collection should be stored in at least two locations.  This kind of redundancy spreads the risk of losing any particular variety.  

Eventually, we believe that SLOLA will become the repository of choice for valuable heirloom seeds that exist here in the suburbs and barrios of Los Angeles.  And over time, the popular varieties of seeds that we are importing from across the United States will become adapted to our Los Angeles soil and climate and will become even more productive for us here.

In addition, we encourage our members to go about creating open-pollinated varieties of vegetables that will do better here and perhaps elsewhere as well.  Many of us foresee a time when the agricultural model for the modern US food production will fail and, because of the peculiar nature in which it has been structured, when it fails, it will fail massively.  We would like to see agriculture in the city of Los Angeles so advanced that we can ramp up and provide food for that part of the country that is now our breadbasket.  You know, those vast fields where multi-national corporations have created a vacuum of common sense and a chemically-induced sense of reality that is more warped any drug trip an individual has ever been on.  Already we see super weeds that are Round Up resistant and know that Monsanto is working on Round Up 2012 to combat them.  Sadly, it never ends.

While the pervasive use of Round Up and its damage to the environment is bad enough, it's not the worst of it.  The varieties corn or soybeans, upon which the vast amount of our United States foods are based, are few. If a pathogen gets into one of those varieties with any kind of virulence, the damage done to our food supply could be enormous.  As one author pointed out, the Irish already did this experiment (the Potato Famines of the 1800's) and it didn't turn out so well for them.  Intelligent men and women are still persisting in the illusion that those rules don't apply to us.

We call that folly.  Sadly, it is a folly that when realized has a devastating potential.  Join the Seed Library of Los Angeles and begin to do something about saving our food crops now while we don't have to so that when (not if) this failure occurs, the damage can be mitigated by you and your little garden.  It is very important what you do today because you'll be able to show others what to do when the time comes - and your little garden will be multiplied a thousand full!  

That is powerful and the power is yours right now!


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