Boca Grande Farmers Market Unveils Seaside Seed Reserve

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We call it the reserve. A central repository of incredibly beautiful seeds. A grassroots attempt to preserve heirloom and natural seeds before they are snapped up completely by GMO corporations sowing seeds of destruction. Seeds are the very definition of community, food security, or historical preservation and conservation. The newly unveiled Seaside Seed will serve as seed stewards for Southwest Florida’s remote barrier island, Boca Grande and its surrounding area.

The Boca Grande Farmers Market surprise announcement of Seaside Seed as a community service for home gardeners to swap, exchange, and chronicle seed, is the first known formal organization of seed exchange and seed swap on the remote barrier island or the local area. The 2015 growing season is the launch year for the effort! The seed exchange is steadily being built on donations from well-established and credentialed seed companies and experienced local gardeners with a love of Florida.  It is funded in part, by proceeds from the open-air farmers market.

Seaside Seed is run entirely on seed contributions adhering to the Seed Savers Pledge, known as the industry standard for accumulating non-GMO seed. As of February 2015, we have gathered more than 60 species of vegetable, fruits, herbs, flowers, and edible botanical seeds so far, and many of those include multiple varieties. So, join us already!  Your time, knowledge, seed, and financial support will provide a much-needed service in our community.

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The reserve currently houses assorted varieties of the following seeds:

HERBS:  Basil; Chives; Chamomile; Cilantro; Dill; Lavendar; Mint; Mustard; Oregano; Parsley; Rosemary; Sage: Stevia: Tarragon; Thyme

FLOWERS:  Alyssum; Aster; Bachelors Buttons; Cleome; Cosmos; Daisy; Flower Garden Mix; Forget Me Not; Gypsophila; Helichrysum; Marigold; Morning Glory; Perennial Mix; Petunia; Poppy; Snap Dragon; Sunflower; Sweet William; Zinnia

FRUIT:  Cantaloupe; Pumpkin; Watermelon

VEGETABLES:  Beans; Beet; Broccoli; Cabbage; Celery; Carrot; Cauliflower; Corn; Cucumber; Eggplant; Fennel; Kale; Lettuce; Okra; Onion; Pea; Pepper; Radish; Spinach; Squash; Swiss Chard; Tomatoes; Turnip

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Seaside Seed is devoted to saving and exchanging seed and is presently seeking like-minded individuals to grow the effort for improved island self-sustainability.  Other resources for seed saving enthusiasts are:

The Heritage Seed Library (U.K.) Associated with The Henry Doubleday Research Association. They promote organic gardening and heirloom seed preservation. The Library sponsors a members seed swap in addition to selling from their vast reserves of unusual and endangered seed.Seeds of Diversity (Canada) They have an annual Seed Exchange where members are able to obtain samples of over 1,500 varieties of seeds and plants offered by other members in exchange for return postage. They also offer Seedy Saturdays where members host demonstrations and different kinds of events depending on the venue, but they always offer seeds for sale to the public.

Seed Savers Exchange (Decorah, Iowa) This is the Granddaddy of seed saving organizations in the US. Their seed swapping catalog has grown to include literally thousands of vegetable and fruit listings. And they have a sister organization, The Flower and Herb Exchange.

Seed Savers’ Network (Australia) Similar to the U.S. based Seed Saver Exchange, above.

Southern Seed Legacy Project Focused on preserving the biodiversity of the U.S. South. Hosts a large membership seed swap and ‘PASS’ – Pass Along Southern Seeds – Members adopt a particular seed, grow it out, keep notes on how it does and save more seed to pass along.

Svalbard Global Seed Vault (Norway) Ensuring that the genetic diversity of the world’s food crops is preserved for future generations is an important contribution toward the reduction of hunger and poverty in developing countries. This is where the greatest plant diversity originates and where the need for food security and the further development of agriculture is most urgent. The Svalbard Global Seed Vault, which is established in the permafrost in the mountains of Svalbard, is designed to store duplicates of seeds from seed collections around the globe.

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The Safe Seed Pledge:  In signing the Safe Seed Pledge  ouent to non-GMO (genetically modified organism) seed.  We feel that the regulatory framework for the introduction of genetically modified crop varieties is flawed, and that GMO seeds themselves present a threat to plants’ genetic diversity through their ability to pollinate non-GMO plants.

“Agriculture and seeds provide the basis upon which our lives depend. We must protect this foundation as a safe and genetically stable source for future generations. For the benefit of all farmers, gardeners and consumers who want an alternative, we pledge that we do not knowingly buy or sell (or trade) genetically engineered seeds or plants. The mechanical transfer of genetic material outside of natural reproductive methods and between genera, families or kingdoms, poses great biological risks as well as economic, political, and cultural threats. We feel that genetically engineered varieties have been insufficiently tested prior to public release. More research and testing is necessary to further assess the potential risks of genetically engineered seeds. Further, we wish to support agricultural progress that leads to healthier soils, to genetically diverse agricultural ecosystems, and ultimately to healthy people and communities.”  Council for Responsible Genetics
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