Modern agricultural science is a two-edged sword. Hybrid vegetable and row crop varieties have tremendously increased crop yields in the past 50 years. Along with chemical fertilizers and pesticides, this has allowed the Earth's population to double in the past 45 years without mass starvation. Unfortunately because the seeds from hybrid plants do not breed true, it makes farmers captive to the seed companies an dependent on modern chains of supply for seed distribution. Any seed that is saved from crops typically produces less yield than traditional non-hybrid progenitors. In the event of a global TEOTWAWKI, I anticipate that catastrophic starvation would occur. This would of course be caused by disruption of hybrid seed production and/or disruption of supply chains. The lure of high yields has forced the vast majority of the worlds farmers into the ongoing use of hybrid seed. It is like an enormous, inviting, invisible trap that has taken in nearly all of the farmers on the planet-JWR
An additional hazard of hybrids or genetically modified seeds is that the exact same seed type is planted on a mass scale. A disease that could wipe out one plant would kill ALL the plants. All are identical, and all would have the same lack of resistance. You can think of hybrid seeds as identical twins.The beauty of non hybrid seeds is that they offer genetic variety. Non-hybrid seeds can be thought of as cousins. They will be from the same family but each have unique attributes. Among a field of non hybrid plants would be some with resistance to the disease. You would only lose part of your crop. And if you saved the seeds from the plants that had the most resistance, you would have disease resistant plants the next year.
OBTW, we will be discussing how to collect ("save") and store seed stock in detail in some upcoming blog posts. - The Memsahib
The best alternative to the hybrid seed trap is to stock up on traditional open pollinated (non-hybrid) seed varieties, also called "heirloom" variety seeds. Our favorite source is The Ark Institute. They sell very high quality, open-pollinated seeds. They even offer the service of assembling a seed kit specially tailored to your climate zone. Here is how to contact them: The Ark Institute P.O. Box 1721, Gold Beach, Oregon 97444. Phone: 1-800-255-1912, e-mail: email@example.com Web site: http://www.arkinstitute.com/. OBTW, Dr. Geri Guidetti of The Ark Institute kindly provided this article on Asian Avian Flu on her web site.
Other sources of information and open-pollinated seed:
Seed Savers Exchange, R.R. 3, Box 239 Decorah, Iowa 52101.
Seeds of Change, P.O. Box 15700 Santa Fe, New Mex. 87506.
Southern Exposure Seed Exchange, P.O. Box 158 North Garden Virginia 22959.
Territorial Seed Co., P.O. Box 157 Cottage Grove, Ore. 97424.
(Carries seeds primarily for the Pacific Northwest and similar climates.)