Sowing for a Better Future
On April 17th 2014 we’ve started a new project: Sowing for a Better Future.
During this project we’re going to sow and plant fruit and vegetables everywhere in our environment.
Due to draughts and other climate related effects, food prices, especially fruit and vegetables will rise with an average of 35% the coming 4 years. (Coffee prices will rise this year with 60%. )Experts assume that the inflation due to food prices will last approximately 8 to 10 years. (The oils prices will also rise, and since our current agro-industry is so oil dependent, this implicates that the costs of food packaging and transport will also add to the increased food prices.)
Put that on top of a financial crisis, when more and more people are out of a job or are facing a decline in income, and we have a serious problem on our hands.
In stead of complaining we went out to do something, so we’ve decided to sow seeds of edible plants in our environment. And not just for our limited budget, but for everyone. We hope that other people will follow and turn our mono-cultured neatly clipped parks cultivated solely for aesthetic reasons into vegetable patches.
So the plants are there to be harvested for anyone who can find them. Because we’re not making little gardens in urban environments, but we’re sowing between existing vegetation. We’re sowing near to trees, bushes, public benches, places a sowing machine can’t reach.
This way hope to avoid over-enthousiastic Parks Department people with shuffles and mowing machines. The upside is we think they are relatively save, the downside is the plants are not that easy to find. Because how do you recognise a radish in the wild or distinguish a carrot from other members of the Flowering Plant family without digging it out? And mind you, there are some deadly poisonous members amongst them.
A lot of people (ourselves included) haven’t got the knowledge anymore to recognise edible plants. Some people can’t even recognise a raspberry when it grows on a bush and is not conveniently packed in a plastic box. So it’s a good reason for us to polish our practically non-existent knowledge of our native plants!
Rising food prices aren’t the only reason for this project, though. There’s another even more serious problems with our food.
Food starts with seeds. From seeds grow plants that will feed us and animals (that we eat later on).
So the problem starts with seeds. The three biggest Gen-tech corporations like Monsanto control 53% of the global commercial seed market. They patent natural crops, and distribute Genetically Modified Organisms (GMO) seeds. Seeds for plants that are more resistant to diseases, grow faster or have nicer colours. These companies are becoming increasingly powerful, because if you control the seeds, you control the food.
The mono-cultures, the patenting, the modification and pollution have resulted in a dwindling number of varieties in plants. Our biodiversity is jeopardised. Within 10 years it will reach the lowest acceptable level which will lead to collapsing eco-systems and the global food production.
On top of that a new law proposed by the European Commission would make it illegal to “grow, reproduce or trade” any vegetable seeds that have not been “tested, approved and accepted” . It’s called the Plant Reproductive Material Law, and it attempts to put the government in charge of virtually all plants and seeds. Home gardeners who grow their own plants from non-regulated seeds would be considered criminals under this law.
So this is a good time so help nature a bit and to sow plants everywhere we can. But what if you don’t want to use GMO seeds? What if you don’t want your choices limited to only one type of perfectly straight cucumbers? Also due to the new law It becomes more difficult to find and buy heirloom seeds, or non-GMO seeds, to grow ‘Forgotten vegetables’ and create more diversity in our environment and on our plate.
We hope we can contribute to biodiversity and our biological heritage and therefor we are sowing heirloom seeds, and non-Genetically Modified Organisms (GMO) seeds as much as we can.
Because a crooked cucumber is far more interesting than the boring straight ones, and tastes better too.