Heirlooms are Gold
The tomato blight is ravaging the crop in the Northeast. It is similar to the blight that caused the Irish Potato Famine. The story opens the door to understanding why buying, growing, and supporting heirloom plants and seeds is so important. In Ireland, if the country hadn’t relied on one variety of potato they would have had at least one potato type that could have fought off the blight. Instead, all the potatoes died and mass starvation ensued.
Visit your farmers market and get started eating heirloom vegetables. You can often distinguish them by their gorgeous colors.
For more about heirlooms, read Shattering: Food, Politics, and The Loss of Genetic Diversity, by Cary Fowler and Pat Mooney (The University of Arizona Press, 1996). Here is some guidance from this eloquent book:
Five Laws of Genetic Conservation
1. Agricultural diversity can only be safeguarded through the use of diverse strategies.
2. What agricultural diversity is saved depends on who is consulted. How much is saved depends on how many people are involved.
3. Agricultural diversity will not be saved unless it is used.
4. Agricultural diversity cannot be saved without saving the farm community. Conversely, the farm community cannot be saved without saving diversity.
5. The need for diversity is never-ending. Therefore, our efforts to presere this diversity can never case.