Saving Native Seeds to Protect Food Heritage
IPS, 12 December 2011

AMECAMECA DE JUÁREZ, MEXICO: Guadalupe Ortiz founded Canasta de Semillas (Basket of Seeds) in 2002 as a project committed to recovering, investigating, producing, gathering and distributing seeds of native varieties of vegetables. Initially it was funded by the government and the Fundación Merced, a charitable organisation supporting Mexican NGOs. “We need to reclaim our seeds in order to ensure food security and face the challenges of climate change and the emergence of new pests,” Ortiz told IPS. Canasta de Semillas is working to create five regional seed reserves, which will distribute seeds to seven community seed banks. The seed bank in Amecameca, a small town 58 km from the Mexican capital, was launched in 2008 on an area of three hectares, and includes an ethnobotanical museum and a library that is under construction. Saving seeds, preserving and exchanging them are ancestral practices in Mexican family farming. But now they have taken on a scientific facet, with the measurement of seed quality and of the capacity to adapt to new climate conditions. Read the article …