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Joy Dinkelman is a student in the Sustainability Studies program here at Stony Brook University. After having the amazing and life-changing experience of attending the Omega Institute Seeds of Change conference this past Fall ’15 with fellow Sustainability Studies students, I decided that I wanted to do an independent study on seeds and seed saving in the Spring. Now I am in my eleventh week of delving into the complex and fascinating world of seeds and plants; two things that are often overlooked but, so essential to our lives. Seeds are the essence of life; they are the direct and indirect source of food, habitats, and materials, as well as a fountain of beauty. Since the dawn of agriculture 10,000 years ago, people have been collecting, selecting, tending, and planting millions of varieties of seeds for food, medicine, and ritualistic purposes. Today there is no longer as much of a need for gardeners and farmers to save seeds, nor are the connections between seeds and the fruits that they produce truly understood or appreciated. We have lost much of our traditional knowledge and respect for seeds and plants, instead replacing them with hybrids, patented varieties and GMOs. In studying the importance and the challenges facing our seeds and our food system, I am trying to learn about the why people still choose to save seeds, how to save seeds from various plants, and the problems that are tainting our seed and food. Thus far I have had the rewarding experience of meeting with local seed savers and farmers, reading articles and books that center around seed saving and the importance of protecting our seeds, as well as attending local events and watching films that have to do with seeds, food and agriculture/gardening. Besides just wanting to learn about the plight facing our food system and what I can do at home to grow some of my own food and save some of my own seeds, I am also looking to involve my friends, family and community in protecting and promoting a diverse and local food system. In addition to designing and planting my own garden and that of some of my friends and family, I am also trying to make seeds available to the community by establishing a seed library (the premise being that in the Spring seeds are offered to library patrons, grown out in the Summer and then in the Fall the seeds from the crops are collected and brought back; creating a renewable source of local seeds). To learn more about what I’m doing this semester and to hear about the seed library that I am working on starting, you can go to my blog: http://joydinkelman-seedsofchange.blogspot.com/. As I wrote earlier in one of my posts, “I encourage anyone with a spot of sunlight and a parcel of soil or a container to grow something this upcoming Spring and Summer! Perhaps you’ll grow it from seeds or maybe a tiny plant, but which ever you do try and look up how to save its seeds… Seeds will surprise you, they are magical!”.
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