Seed Savers Exchange

Wet processing includes all fleshy fruit. Tomato, eggplant, pepper, all cucurbit and any seed enveloped in a fruit. When harvesting the fleshy fruits seeds must be mature that means that different plants mature at different stages, mostly when they change to their final color. Harvest when:

  • Tomato – when ready to eat its ready for harvest.
  • Pepper – changes to its final color usually red.
  • Eggplant- losses its shin and changes color to yellow.
  • Melon – changes color, stripes appear and usually disconnects from the vine.
  • Watermelon – when ripe.
  • Cucumber – changes color usually yellow.
  • Squash – when ripe, the skin is hard and doesn’t puncture with your fingernail.

The seeds of a fruit are protected by a gelatinous coat which contains germination inhibiting compounds. Nature’s method of removing the seed’s sugar coating, Happens after the fruit falls on the soil. It then ferments and decomposes and the coating is shed. We must do the same when processing artificially.  Seeds are taken out of the fruit with their juice and left to ferment. In a way that natural yeast, bacteria and fungi can use the sugars to ferment and shed the coating of the seed.  The seeds are now washed clean, placed on a screen with air circulation to dray for a day and then bagged and transferred for a final drying in a dry room with low humidity for a few months.

The desired water content of a seed for long term storage is around 5%. High water content will shorten life span of the seed. When frozen water expands and brakes cell walls, killing the seed. With low water content of 3% and below, the seed coat will prevent water from entering the seed and germination won’t occur.

 

I now live in a beautiful old cabin built in 1846 by general Taylor; it’s located perfectly and has an old phonograph.

The white house chose SSE to host a Town Hall meeting with president Barack Obama. I was very fortunate to get the opportunity to see the president speak and answer questions.

It was a beautiful day, the audience asked very harsh questions about many subjects, but no question were asked about GMO and the president strategy in dealing with big cooperation’s controlling the markets, so I was not completely satisfied.

My conclusion was that no mater how much the president wants to change the direction we are going, if the people don’t raise their voice to be heard not much will actually change.

Like it always has been. If the right people don’t stand up to wrong doing, inequality prevails and all creations suffers the consequence.

In 1819 seed diversity was brought to the US to be shred with the public from the understanding of the importance of communal seed diversity. the federal government founded the USDA who was distributing seed verities to everyone for free. Universities had grant for improvement of crops, breading programs and served regional community.

1863 “American Seed Trade Association” formed. In the first meeting in Rochester they decided to to stop the free seed program throw lobbying congress, and they succeeded by 1923.

In the 1950’s hybridization increased and funding for universities dropped, changed into founding for commercial products and turned universities into servants of the privet sector.

In 1980 the supreme court allowed for the first time patenting of life, a bacteria that eats oil, Diamond Vs Chakrabarty. And from their any part of plant, characteristic could be patented.

Many things changed rapidly which gave way for large, non agriculture chemical pharmaceutical companies, like Monsanto, DoPont, Bayer ect, to cease the opportunity and take over the seed industries, total control of seeds throw patenting, stopping farmers from saving seed crops and no researchers can save and innovate.

Luckily some small seed companies like SSE, Seeds Of Change, Southern Exposure, Johnny’s Selected Seeds, Native Seeds SEARCH and many more, started saving heirloom seeds and breading seeds, working with rowel communities for protecting our heritage.

We most find the way to be more collaborative protect local farmers and pass are seeds in our communities as the beginning of creating a sustainable next generation.

 

 

With over 35 workshops, garden hayrides, a barn dance and four keynote addresses, I enjoyed a full weekend of seed-saving celebration and information at Heritage Farm.

I spent this weekend meeting amazing people with amazing stories to tell, and went to inspirational talks and workshops about seed saving. some of my fevered talks where:

Craig LeHoullier – tomorrow’s Heirlooms, Breeding new tomato varieties.

Woody Tasch – Slow Money- Investing as food, farms & Fertility matters, his book is a must for everyone and his ideas are the future.

Matthew Dillon- Community Seed System, past and present. You wont believe what the big companies did to take over the seed system.

*Later on they interviewed me for a documentary they are filming.

Jeff McCormack- Isolation distances, principles & practices. Founder, Southern Exposure Seed Exchange.

31st Annual Seed Savers Exchange Conference & Campout



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.