The Seed Huntress: Sefra Alexandra
“Monocrops are the number one most susceptible crop to pests, destruction, and possibly famine. By saving seeds, we maintain crop diversity. When we save seeds and store them, we’re not relying on the potential doom and gloom of industrial agricultural systems.” – Sefra Alexandra
We find ourselves in a pinch of time in our ethnobotanical history where the genetic biodiversity of our planet is in rapid decline. The seeds that hold the knowledge of our land and the memory of our ancestors are being ignored and forgotten. Today, 93% of vegetable varieties have already gone extinct.
In Wellness + Wisdom episode 238, Seed Huntress, trained Seed Banker by the Rocky Mountain Seed Alliance, Genebank Impacts Fellow at Global Crop Diversity Trust, and Podcast Hostess of Spartan UP!, Sefra Alexandra, joins us to share how we can nourish the world through seed saving compared to monocropping, how edible forest gardening is helping to save plant life, and why we shouldn't and no longer have to rely on only the nutrition from these four monocrops – canola, corn, wheat, and soy.
Discover how easy it is to begin seed saving at home, plant, and grow crops in your window box, patio, or garden.
Global Crop Diversity Trust
Our mission is to ensure the conservation and availability of crop diversity for food security worldwide.
It has never been more critical to conserve crop diversity. We need the greatest possible diversity of crops to secure our food supply at a time when we are making unprecedented demands, and putting unprecedented pressure, on our environment.
A 10,000 YEAR LEGACY WE CAN’T LEAVE TO CHANCE
Throughout the history of agriculture, farmers have generated a seemingly endless diversity within crops, discovering ingenious solutions to local challenges. Meanwhile, many of the wild relatives of these crops have also persisted in nature, adapting to tough environments. Crop diversity allows farmers to feed the world. But this diversity is not in fact endless. It is disappearing, and once lost, it’s lost forever.
We need crop diversity both in farmer’s fields and stored in genebanks – available to all through an efficient global system to ensure that nutritious food will be available at stable and affordable prices without expanding agriculture’s footprint. Safeguarding biodiversity in – and around – agriculture is a prerequisite for food security.
No single institution can hold this diversity, which amounts to millions of distinct crop varieties and make it available to plant breeders and farmers around the world. The Crop Trust brings together and secures those genebanks that are tasked by the international community with conserving this legacy for all of us.
Forever Securing World Food Supply with Crop Trust
Listen To Episode 238 As Sefra Alexandra Uncovers:
- What it means to be a seed huntress and how she became involved in seed banking.
- The differences between ex situ conservation and in situ conservation of plant or animal species.
- What consequences and issues happen when aid organizations send in seeds from the US to natural disaster zones in other countries.
- Our natural connection with the earth and how she connects with it in her own way.
- What a ‘higher power' is to her as a spirit who moves through all things.
- Why there isn't a current universal focus on preserving seeds for future generations and what she's doing to help change that.
- What you can do to start seed saving and growing your own food if you live in a large city.
- Permaculture – what it is and how it's becoming more and more popular in cities like Los Angeles.
- The problem with patented seeds in our farming industry and how GMOs can spread during pollination season to other farms.
- Seed Law 101 – what to know about patented seeds, Monsanto, and open source options from seed catalogs.
- The Food Forever Initiative to try and maintain natural plant and crop diversity.
- How we can feed and nourish the world through seed saving compared to monocropping.
- Why we don't have to rely on only 12 crops and get nutrition from only 4 of them: canola, corn, wheat, and soy.
- Edible forest gardening – what it is and how it helps to both save seeds and regrow forests.
- The nutritional benefits of kelp, seaweed, and other sea vegetables for not just humans but the marine environment as well.
- The Seeds Savers Exchange – what it is and how it can help you get started in saving seeds, growing vegetables, and learning more about it.
- The various varieties of crops and plants that you can order from a seed catalog.
- What she thinks seed collecting will look like in 5, 10 years.
- Why herbs are the easiest thing that you can begin to plant today.
- The benefits of taking oregano oil for different uses when necessary.
Power Quotes From The Show
“It's too late to be pessimistic; it's all about optimism now. Often times, people forget about the power they have to be stewards and caretakers of the earth. In fact, it's a lot easier than what most people think. It's a great feeling to see how communities are rebuilt and regenerated after a natural disaster occurs. The same thing can be said about rebuilding an environment and ecosystem.” – Sefra Alexandra
“Each corn kernel you eat is a whole corn plant. Each apple seed is an entire apple tree. An acorn can grow into an oak. When you start to have reverence and understand the magic embryos that you are encountering every day, you start to have a different relationship towards being around food.” – Sefra Alexandra
“We can walk into a grocery store here and there is just this gorgeous cornucopia of food available. There are very few countries where everyone is dieting. In most countries, people are dying. This comes from a huge point of privilege and to look at all this abundant food but not have an appreciation for it. Seed saving is so much easier than people think. You can take the seeds of a tomato you like and grow them in your own garden or window box at home.” – Sefra Alexandra
“You can either focus on the doom and gloom of the big corporations like Monsanto or realize that the power is exactly inherently the opposite; it's completely in our hands. When we take seeds, plant, and save them, we're not relying on these bigger, industrial agricultural systems. That's how we build our own resilience.” – Sefra Alexandra
The Seed Huntress | Community Seed Bank | Haiti
Links From Today's Show
- Sefra Alexandra
- Global Crop Diversity Trust
- Rocky Mountain Seed Alliance
- Rocky Mountain Seed Alliance Seed School Online
- Food Forever Initiative
- Spartan UP! Podcast
- Joe De Sena
- Buckminster Fuller
- Joel Salatin of Polyface Farm
- Botanical Explorer Joseph Simcox
- Edible Forest Gardens
- Making Seedballs: An Ancient Method Of No-Till Agriculture
- Seed Savers Exchange
- Seed: The Untold Story
- The 8 Best Apps To Identify Unknown Plants and Flowers
- WFR 096 Daniel Schmachtenberger
- WFR 196 Aubrey Marcus
- WFR 226 Paul Chek
About Sefra Alexandra
Sefra Alexandra holds her Teaching Masters in Agroecological Education from Cornell University & is trained in the tradition of seed saving by the Rocky Mountain Seed Alliance, As a wilderness skills instructor & permaculture educator of the perennial polycultural guild.
The Seed Huntress believes solutions must move beyond sustainability and promote regenerative succession- fostered through hands-on, place-based engagement.
Her ethnobotanical wanderlust is mycelial: foraging & sharing seeds of knowledge in the wyld lothloriens.
Foundress of Puddy’sLuxury Wildernest tent camps, Directress of Expeditions with her twin brother for Tactivate, Cheiftess Mix-Ecology Officer of Mortar & Pistil: The World's First Survival Skills Bar & hostess of grit & garden at SpartanUP! The Podcast.
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