Martha Gottlieb


This is an important new organization, and it's exciting to be running for the Board.  We are part of the movement to preserve the genetic basis of our food crops, which is sacred work.  What I'd bring to the Board is a radical and anti- corporate approach. Radical in that the essential work is to gather up and disseminate seeds.  Educating ourselves and other interested folks in how best to do that is the challenge.  Anti-corporate in principle, to further a diverse crowd sourced effort with more attention to results than to the bottom line. The Seed Library movement exemplifies the grassroots spirit, but the challenge last August to a Library in Pennsylvania, facilitated by the Pa Dept of Ag, was perhaps corporate in origin.  The latest such case, last month in Duluth, presents a clearer picture, as the Minnesota Dept of Ag talked about "- a level playing field for seed companies".  We as a seed network are part of the

effort to defend openness in seed distribution.

We could consider what to save and why.  How does the SSE decide what to document, what to grow out, what to discard?  How would we do it?  If you look at seed saving as preserving plant features towards breeding locally adapted varieties and landraces, is that more valuable than maintaining pure seed of heirlooms?   More basically, do we want to view our lists as offering traits for breeding or fine finished products, the results of years of development?  Maybe we want all of the above, but the questions are interesting.

In 25 years of work in the Exhibition Hall of Maine's Common Ground Fair, I've seen hundreds of new and old varieties.  Currently, as we judge them we look for trueness to type.  However, It would also be good to judge by nutritional content, local adaptations and adaptability to climate change.  The Grassroots Seed Network could be a resource for developing sustainable local food production where such qualities are valued.  GSN will need to be clear about its vision and purposes.  The mechanics of the organization exist to serve those goals.