Wednesday, August 14, 2013

An Exciting Time To Be A Part of SLOLA

Our SLOLA world today is busier than ever before with good things brewing and in the news.  

By now you know this Saturday's meeting is special because we will not only have Nisha Vida as our speaker, but directly following our meeting is the launch of Seed Freedom LA, from 4:00 to 7:00 PM. There will be music and silk screening of anti-GMO tee shirts and signs and interesting stuff - but the main reason to come is there will be several city council members as well as some really competent and passionate anti-GMO activists to hear.  The most important reason to be here, though, will be to show support of making LA a 'GMO Free Zone' - meaning that it will be illegal to grow or transport genetically modified plants within Los Angeles City limits.  Though largely symbolic, no GMO plants are planted or brought into the city already, it does set in motion an eventual ban in LA County and then perhaps the state.  And those are not symbolic.  We gotta start somewhere and this is where we are! 

And then there is the Heirloom Expo coming around the corner, September 10, 11 and 12.  Held in Luther Burbank's hometown of Santa Rosa (which is why all those plums are called Santa Rosa), the Heirloom Expo always features great speakers and lots to see and do - it's like Disneyland for seedheads!  And we all get to hang out and geek out on seeds together.  SLOLA has a booth there and traditionally on Wednesday afternoon/evening, all the seed libraries gather around for an informal mini-conference.  The price is reasonable and you're invited to come by our booth and say hi.  We'll be in Grace Hall.  

And Seed School Los Angeles!  SLOLA will host Bill McDorman and Belle Starr's seed school in February - don't hesitate, enroll now while there is still space - we anticipate a completely sold out offering.  You can enroll via Native Seeds/SEARCH at this link.

A Burbank Slicer Tomato, one of the F2 plants in our project.

I really sat down to write about our Burbank Slicer Tomato project - which probably is the one thing that is lifting my spirits about the tomato crop I have not gotten in 2013.  I think it was in November 2011, I was seated next a buyer for Seeds of Change and she told me the story of Burbank Slicer being discontinued because it had shrunk from the 3 inch tomato Luther introduced in about 1915 to a two bite cherry that most folks clearly did not want.  She gave me several packets of old seed which we distributed among our members and set about to breed the tomato back to it's 3 inch size.  

From those seeds we got two really nice sized 3 inch tomatoes and from them, I saved seed the seeds I planted this year.  This photo is from that  F2 (second generation), showing the tomatoes we will select for more Burbank Slicers as we work to get the larger sized tomato consistently.  

Which points to the fact that by being a seed saver, you are a plant breeder - you choose the qualities that will be tomorrow's crop.  As we all select seed from our summer crops, let's make sure we save seeds from the very best every time to continue to have those qualities in our plants.  

Remember, one of the biggest parts of this seed library deal:  you must return a portion of the seed from the plants you grow so that the library will have seed to loan next year!  

For me, selecting the plants from which I will save seed is one of the challenges of the seed saving year.  What makes a Yugoslavian Red Lettuce that variety?  Does this plant - these plants - have the qualities that make this variety distinctly different from another? Then from those plants, scouring to find the healthiest fruits available because the fruit chosen today is the fruit projected into generations to come. Your choices make a difference! 

Feeling powerful now?


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