Automatically translated from Basque, translation may contain errors. More information here. Elhuyarren itzultzaile automatikoaren logoa

Seed pirates and thieves

  • In summer, a lot of seeds are collected in the orchard, whether they are the ones we receive when collecting the summer fruits (such as tomato seeds, bell pepper, zucchini or pickles) or those that come from letting the winter vegetables bloom or dry (such as carrot seeds, beet, beans, peas or leeks). Even by ruining and drying the flowers that delight us, diversify and beautify the orchard, bring us a small treasure, the seeds that we will need to get back to the garden the following year.
Ilenaren haziak lehortutako loretik askatuta erortzen dira lurrera. Argazkia: Dominicus Johannes Bergsma / Wikimedia Commons

11 September 2023 - 05:00

This week I picked up the hair seeds. Hair flowers are gradually drying out and all seeds are taken alternately. Two weeks ago, I already gathered a number of seeds, until a few that I had on the boat fell to the ground. I left them there, and this week I've realized they've germinated and they start throwing the first leaves.

If we don't collect fruits or vegetables, the seeds go to the ground. Sometimes, within the fruit that would rot over time (pumpkins, for example); in others, within the dried beans (peas or slices, for example); and in others, releasing the seed of the dried flower (hairs, for example). If the species and variety are well adapted to a place, fallen seeds can lead to the birth of new plants the following year. But we collect the seeds to keep them well and sow them and plant them the following year, where and when we want. That is what agriculture, harvesting and planting are all about. And one of the keys to seed conservation is temperature. They need tempered or cold for conservation.

For when the other day I saw new plants coming from the hairs that fell to the ground I doubted. When we pick up the seeds, we only cool them, if we steal them. Steal the plant. Stealing the land. Man and culture are thieves and, suddenly, theft is the basis of agriculture. Our theft is small, okay. If seeds are the first link in food production, agriculture is based on a foundational theft, according to. Is it a question of scale, then, a question?

Let us not forget that. Experts and experts in seed theft are mostly transnational in biotechnology. Vandana Shiva long used the term "biopiracy" to designate the theft of these large companies. Big organized, structural theft of seeds. The ethical assessment of theft is then a matter of scale. Pirates have not always been bad stories, and they have been and there are some rather "pirate" ways to combat privatization and monopolies. It's a matter of scale, okay. But when do we get from pirates to big robbers? The robbers and the pirate farmers, let's not forget that when we collect and store seeds, we somehow steal something from plants, from land, from birds and from our environment. Or take it on loan. Reciprocity is not limited to human relations. The collection, conservation and care of seeds is therefore of great responsibility.


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