Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Perpetual Seeds... a Miracle of Nature



Photo: Mr. Barne's Glass Gem Corn

The miracle of seeds is often inspiring… their tenacity is amazing and miraculous. On an archaeological excavation students from Canada discovered a stash of seeds buried within a Native American seed pot… traditionally a small rounded pot with an opening too small to allow rodents to enter and disturb the precious seeds. Discovered on the Menemonee Reservation in Wisconsin, the pot, and thus the seeds, were carbon dated from around 1290, making the seeds an incredible 800 plus years old. Excitement was palatable as the seeds were planted and the wait began. To their utter joy, the strange seeds grew into a rare species of squash that had been extinct for hundreds of years. The students named the squash ‘gete-okosomin, which is native for ‘really cool old squash.’

There is also an amazing report of lupine (Lupinus articicus) seeds over 10,000 years old sprouting as well. Discovered in the Yukon of Alaska they were found deep within the burrows of ancient lemmings buried in permafrost silt dating to the Pleistocene epoch.

Oklahoma Cherokee farmer, Carl Barnes, wanted to reconnect with his ancestral past and began the search for corn he had only heard about. His efforts resulted in Glass Gem corn, an heirloom species that produces kernels in a stunning array of rainbow colors. By exchanging seeds from lost-then-found caches across the country, he was successful and happily and quietly grew his corn until 1994 when his success went viral as the pictured photo appeared. His seeds are now available for the public to plant.

Noting the importance of seeds, the Svalbard Global Seed Vault, or the Doomsday Seed Vault, was created in 2008. Located on the remote island of Svalbard in Norway and dug into the frozen Arctic ice, is humanity’s assurance of food perpetuation in case of a catastrophic event, such as nuclear war or an asteroid strike. It acts as a repository for some 865,000 varieties of seeds from around the globe, with an intended capacity of 2.25 billion seeds. Seeds are the recognized life-blood of the planet and their promise of survival is one of Mother Nature’s grandest plans … seeds are perpetual.