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Like most other living organisms plants have both male and female reproductive organs, often within the same plant or flower. The male part of a flower produces pollen in what is called the anther. It ripens and exposes the pollen grains. The female part of a flower is called the pistil, and consist of a stigma (which is receptive to pollen), a style (which carries pollen to the ovary) and ovaries (one or more). The ovaries eventually turn into the fruit.

In order to maintain pure seeds, pollen from one variety must come in contact with a stigma of the same variety, and reject pollen from all other verities within the species. If pollen from a different variety of the species crosses, the seed will not be true to type.

  • Perfect flower is called monoecious (“one house”) – it houses both male and female reproductive organs and is able to self-pollinate. Fertilization usually occures within each individual flower and most likely does not depend on insects. Some perfect flowers ripen the pollen before the stigma is mature. These do not self-pollinate and rely on insects or wind for pollination.
  • Imperfect or dioecious flowers (“two houses”) as cross-pollinated species they produce separate male and female flowers on the same plant. Pollinated through wind, insects or other physical methods.
  • Self-incompatible plants – Here male plants produce only pollen and female plants produce only seed. They rely greatly on insect pollination.

 

Wind pollination – Many grains, grasses and trees rely on wind pollination. The most commonly known example is corn where pollen is produced on the top of the stalk. When the wind shakes the plant pollen falls from the tassels onto the silks that produce corn kernels.

 

Honeybees are the main pollinators for industrialized crops, and are very efficient in their tendency to target flowers of same color and type. Many more efficient pollinators exist, such as bumblebees, sweat bees, wild bees and flies which are much more random in their search for pollen. Inefficient pollinators like moths, butterflies and wasp are covered with scales or coarse spines that are not adapted to transfer pollen.

definitions:

Heirloom seeds are seeds that have been passed down the generations for a minimum of 50 years. They are mostly open-pollinated varieties and usually have a history attached to them. Many heirloom seeds are resistant to many diseases in their place of origin.

Open-pollinated are commonly created by random mating within a populations carrying the same genes and tend to express uniform traits or phenotypes. These describe more recent varieties than heirloom seeds.

Hybrid varieties are created by crossing two plants or verity lines within a species, producing uniform offspring that have two different sets of genes.

The F1 generation will be uniform taking the traits from the dominant allele (an alternative version of a gene) of his parents, thus allowing hybrids to deal with many different types of environmental conditions, which let them to grow faster and stand shipping etc. Most hybrids will produce seeds because they are a cross between two varieties of the same species (crosses between different species are sterile, like seedless watermelons). The F2 generation undergoes segregation, i.e. offspring with different phenotypes due to reshuffling of the alleles.

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These seeds cannot be saved for their parental traits. This segregation is the reason why farmers have to buy new hybrid seeds each year from the company, and are therefore dependent on the seed company which can suddenly stop producing a variety that no one else is able to reproduce.

Unfortunately, breeding and selection of open-pollinated varieties has almost been abandoned entirely and some heirloom varieties have gone instinct. The widespread use of chemicals in modern mono-agriculture has resulted in eroding resistance in plant crops worldwide.

Seed saving is fundamental to preserve and improve agricultural biodiversity and resistance to diseases.


As my studies came to an end I was swept of my feet, dispatched by Israeli Permaculture organization to Seed Savers Exchange’s Heritage Farm to learn as much as I can rotating between the different departments of the organization. With my return to Israel after the internship, I will be replicating the amazing work\mission of this nonprofit, member-supported organization in Israel.

It is of the upmost importance for the Middle East to create an Israeli\Palestine network of seed savers. Founded in 1948 by immigrants from all corners of the world, Israel is still a very young country. It is critical that we preserve the ancient knowledge that exists within the older generation before it is to late.

I am grateful for the opportunity I was given to learn at Heritage Farm. I feel that this is the beginning of my path to create a network of seed savers to preserve our natural heritage.

With the help of Mother Nature, we will grow, succeed and reach our goals.

 

The opportunity of a lifetime has presented itself to me. I’m going for a six-month internship at Seed Savers Exchange.

From Wikipedia:

Savers Exchange, or SSE, is a non-profit organization based in DecorahIowa, that preserves heirloom plant varieties through regeneration, distribution and seed exchange. The mission of SSE is to preserve the world’s diverse but endangered garden heritage for future generations by building a network of people committed to collecting, conserving, and sharing heirloom seeds and plants, and educating people about the value of genetic and cultural diversity.

The plan is to learn as much as I can rotating at different points through the various departments of the organization.  This would include collection and preservation, as well as production of a catalog and Yearbook.

After the internship I will be going back to Beit Hillel, Israel to replicate the amazing mission of this non-profit, member supported organization, here in Israel.

Since 1975, Seed Savers Exchange members have passed on approximately one million samples of rare garden seeds to other gardeners.

כנס קמפוסים ירוקים – בדגש התייעלות וחסכון באנרגיה

אורגן ע”י המכללה האקדמית תל-חי בשיתוף המשרד להגנת הסביבה ועמותת מגמה ירוקה

After 3 years of struggle to save the draying Ein Zahav stream, Ein Zahav will be flowing again.

The water authority announced that in the next few month they will let some water back to nature (200 metric cube per year), and that in the next year Neviot water company will stop taking water from Ein Zahav fountain.

That’s the best news possible, to actually make a significant change.

a few articals:

green course

local news

local news

We devoted this earth day to water. There are a lot of rivers flowing in “Hula Valley” and a lot of truism, which especially after a holiday leaves the rivers plotted with human garbage.

In order to rise awareness we had a happening in the kayaking company of Kfar Bloom, which use the river Jordan for kayaking, in the early morning we went on a hike to clean the riverbed and went back down the river in kayaks to clean inside the river. In the site we had the happening were we had activities for kids; second hand “give and take” market, Millet Information stations for local and international environmental problems (killing of dolphins…), and many more activities.

It takes a lot of effort to show people what is really important in their life.


Tu Bishvat or “The New Year of the Trees” is a grate opportunity to touch the public about environmental issues.

The idea of connecting people, organizations and the municipality to take act, is my goal.

we got together student groups, local volunteer organization, Student council from a few schools and got the municipality to help. The title of the day was “every one is joining the struggle to save Ein Zahav stream”.

Each grope of us tuck a particular role, there was tree planting, all kinds of environmental workshops for kids, a play for kids and we cleaned all around the riverbed.

A lot of people shooed up it was perfection, and the Mayer spoke and sent a letter to the water authority telling them that the people want the water flowing once again in “Ein Zahav”.

I wanted to promote the issue of the importance in establishing a local market where food is grown locally (with out the need of shipping), and more importantly grown in an ecological manner with no herbicides, pesticides, soil preserving and enhancing.

The first step was Eco- Cinema; we played the movies – “ Story of stuff ”, “The power of community” and “Food Inc”.  And brought a speaker, Alex Kachan Sustainable Agriculture Instructor, Maharishi University of Management Sustainable Living Dept.

A lot of students and local people came, the movie “Food Inc” is very shocking, it shoes’ the brutality of the meet and food industry’s and the decline of forests and land do to aggressive agriculture.

After the movie we talked about how each one of us should  know how the food they eat is grown and understand the importance of good nutrition.

use our biggest power, perches, in order to change the market.

 

There is a huge amount of pruned branches being burned part of massive agriculture in Hula Valley. During the night and early morning the bowl shape of the valley brings cold winds down the slops. This process is called inversion, where cold air forms above wormer air.



When the farmers burn their pruned branches the smoke gets trapped batwing the layers of the inversion, the smoke engulfs settlements around that aria.

 

 

To raise some awareness we crated a conference invited a professional speaker- Moshe Shalit from the environmentl unit in local counsel, and government officials from the department of agriculture.