Thursday, 21 February 2013

Bibliophilia: Gathering: Memoir of A Seed Saver by Diane Ott Whealy

Gathering: Memoir of A Seed Saver – Diane Ott Whealy   

This was written by one of the people who founded Seed Savers Exchange, an organization dedicated to preserving the seeds for flowers and vegetables that are rapidly being lost. Many fruits and vegetables have (had) hundreds, even thousands of varieties, but many of those genetic strains are in danger of disappearing forever. Agricultural biodiversity is so important. Monocultures may be great from the perspective of an agri-business looking to minimize complexity and maximize profits, but they aren’t much good for anything else. If a disease or blight comes along, that one particular strain is at an extreme disadvantage.

Ott, who grew up in Iowa, the grand daughter of German immigrants, cherished some of the strains that they had brought with them from the old country. This spurred her interest in preserving and sharing these heirloom seeds. She and her husband Kent, began the organization in 1975 and the book chronicles their growth as an organization and as a family. 

Beautifully presented, with many wonderful illustrations and photographs showing some of the gorgeous vegetables and flowers that have been saved through their efforts.

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