While it was written in the height of the summer it is even more timely as Nature sends much of our plant life to seed.
In recent years, heirloom vegetables have jumped in popularity. This spike in popularity has been due to several circumstances, including better flavor that is found with heirlooms, greater availability of seeds and plants, and the importance of organic gardening. What if I were to tell you that heirlooms could be a thing of the past 10 or 15 years down the road?
In a report written by Manjula V. Guru and James E. Horne of The Kerr Center for Sustainable Agriculture, Mourning the Increasing Loss of Biodiversity, heirloom and agricultural diversity is becoming less and less prominent. Major biotechnology corporations, such as DuPont, are creating more engineered foods that could be the death of a diverse seed supply.
Farming is also becoming more and more a part of the corporate landscape. These corporations have no interest in heirloom varieties of produce – they care about growing a vegetable as quickly as possible, as cheap as possible. There is no concern for flavor nor visual interest. The only thing that matters is that it fills your belly, and they have made a profit.
Take a look at some of the stunning statistics according to Guru and Horne's report. As you can see, having a diverse selection of foods, and plants is important not only for ecological reasons, but also for the sustainability of humans as well.
Humans benefit from biodiversity in many ways. Besides the animals and plants that we use for food, shelter, raw materials, and companionship, there are thousands of species whose natural products are literally life-saving – nearly 25% of the drugs used in the United States originally came from plants.