I am a bit concerned though how your efforts [at promoting gardens to address hunger] could be harmed by some backlash against seed-savers (as discussed in films like Food, Inc.) I doubt there are problems with tomatillos, but wonder about other seeds like for corn… Any problems thus far?
Here’s my response, which you may tell I was itching to give on Saturday if need be:
Holly and I actually have talked about this issue. And we agreed that, right now, in the midst of the recession, the bigger issue at hand is making sure folks get food. And if that means less-than-ideal seed sources, then that’s what it means. [It was interesting to discover how much Holly and I had in common in our individual stances, especially given that we’d never presented together previously.]
Personally [and I’m definitely speaking for myself from here until the end], I see gardening as a “gateway experience” to larger environmental and sustainability issues, including concerns about seed stock preservation. But if those of us worried about the future of our food supply only ever reach out to the choir of true believers–and by that I mean educated and affluent people with the time and energy to worry about Monsanto et al, then [we’ll never succeed at either feeding more people or moving people away from overly corporatized food systems].
We need to meet ordinary people where they are right now, nurture a positive, can-do spirit in them (just like we did in WWI and II) and then move them along the continuum to make even stronger, bolder lifestyle choices. Otherwise and quite frankly, the inroads made with regard to “sustainable living” initiatives will be deemed “elitist” and out of touch with the concerns of most Americans. That may not be fair, but it’s true.
All that said, my fave book to recommend to folks–even my friends on the extreme Right here in Texas–is the VERY West Coast, left-leaning Food Not Lawns precisely because it presents tips and strategies for shoring up food security right alongside seed saving and storage. It’s interesting because currently it’s hand-wringers on far left and far right that are the most vocal supporters of things like seed preservation, gardening, heavy duty food storage. Go figure. [Note that the book is actually connected to the Food Not Bombs movement, hence the name.]
I look forward to the day when there’s a critical mass of [us] “radical centrists”–both geographically and politically–taking leadership on these issues [specifically food security and sustainable food systems]. That idea was, in fact, a big reason why I launched [RW&G].