Seed Savers: The Importance of Preserving Heirloom Varieties

Why Heritage and Heirloom Varieties Matter

With the uncertainty of global food security, growing and preserving our own food has never been more important. One crucial aspect of this initiative is upholding the genetic diversity of our crops through the cultivation of heritage and heirloom varieties.

The Threat to Our Food Diversity

Commercial agriculture focusing on monoculture and genetically modified crops has seriously jeopardized our food diversity. Out of thousands of apple varieties, for example, only a handful like Gala, Fuji, and Red Delicious are commercially grown. This mass cultivation of a limited selection puts our food system at a significant risk of disease and pest attacks, as it lack balance and diversity.

Nutritional Advantage

Besides their standard resistances, heritage and heirloom varieties offer increased nutritional benefits. Unlike modern commercial varieties that are selectively bred for esthetic appeal and longevity, heirloom varieties are passed down generations for their taste and nutritional value.

How Do We Preserve These Varieties?


  • One method of preserving heritage and heirloom varieties is through seed-saving. This simple practice involves harvesting, cleaning, and storing seeds at the end of a growing season for planting in the next season.

Community Seed Banks

  • Establishing or participating in community seed banks is another avenue. By depositing seeds at the end of every harvest, we can preserve and share these precious genetic resources.

Taking Action

The urgency to act cannot be understated. What’s at stake is not merely our ability to survive in times of disruption but our very survival as a species. We lose more than just our food diversity; we lose part of our cultural heritage with each extinct variety.

Preserving these unique seeds is not only a practical choice; it is a vital task for the protection of our global food supply. Time is of the essence. The moment to revitalise our food diversification through preserving heritage and heirloom varieties is here and now.

Every one of us can contribute, whether by planting a single heirloom tomato, swapping seeds in a local community, or advocating for agriculture policies that promote biodiversity. The power to secure our future quit literally lies in our hands so let’s take good care of them.

Preserving Heritage and Heirloom Varieties

Written by Keith Jacobs

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