There are various qualities in landrace seeds, but the most important is that they are genetically dynamic. Corporate monocultural seeds are bred to exclude that diversity and turn it into strains with very narrow genetic variance and through their breeding programs have reduced overall genetic diversity in our food supply.
Landrace seeds are a regional ecotype that are developed over time and are well adapted to a locality. They are not bred for specific characteristics like color so much as for stability of yield over time. As individual plants survived and produced over years with different weather patterns, landrace seeds strengthened their ability to produce under variable weather conditions.
The majority of genetic diversity in each crop lies in landrace seeds from all over the world and they are a reservoir of genetic resources.
The Doomsday Seed Vault in Norway is a subzero location deep underground that is collecting all the genetically diverse landrace seeds from all over the planet in order to save this diversity from extinction. It does not save any genetically modified seeds.
The Vault is funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Monsanto, Syngenta, and Dupont. All are perps dedicated to replacing all landrace seeds on the planet with patented GMO seeds, so they are stockpiling them… why?
Back in 2010 when Monsanto was on the ropes, it was revived by $23 million from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. The Gates Foundation hired a former Monsanto VP Rob Horsch (Roundup Ready scientist) as their Senior Program Officer for their International Agricultural Development Program.
Although most seed banks have simple memorandums of understanding covering their seed saving agreements with national depositors, Svalbard has a massive unintelligible legal document that allows these corporations access to seed for patenting. NordGen oversees the vault.
Monsanto has a huge legal team that has spent years litigating against farmers who save their own landrace seeds or heritage seeds that get contaminated by GMO seeds planted nearby. It is a bloodbath enforced by the court system which holds individuals responsible for wind and bird dispersion of GMOS into their crops. This is a threat to food security on the planet.
As one insignificant person, I cannot control Bill Gates and his GMO buddies. I can do a Walkabout, and seed saving is how I walk around the evil ones.
I find seeds for native edibles and plant them on my local five acre pinyon-juniper biome to keep them as part of a living seed bank of genetic diversity well adapted to my bioregion. This is my Food Forest and it is full of well adapted native plants. Wind and wild animals that pass through my property to feed on the abundance spread the seeds over a wide area, maybe as much as a hundred mile radius for some seeds. In my small way, I can use my 5 acres of mountainside to impact 31,400 square miles of land. So can anyone who plants natives in their gardens. I like to plant natives that feed me, but am dedicated to fill the gaps in my circular economy so that everyone gets fed in a balanced ecosystem.
I do not save seeds in a subzero vault hidden away from the world. I diversified my 14 acres in Texas from about 15 species to 300 species from 4 adjacent ecosystems. I created several microclimates for different biomes: water, damp, dry, shade, sun, etc. I will see how much diversity I can create here in the mountains.
To me the Food Forest offers a repository of nutrient dense foods that help my body maintain health. Many common garden foods have been bred to be sweeter or starchier and are less nutrient dense than we need to maintain health. When vitamin companies say that we can’t possibly eat enough to provide the nutrition our bodies need, that is why. Every time I eat wild food, I am giving my body a free to me vitamin pill. I haven’t purchased commercial vitamins in decades.
Wild plants are precursors to landrace plants are precursors to modern plants are precursors to GMO plants.
There has always been a certain amount of breeding back landrace plants with their wild predecessors to increase vigor.
In my Food Forest I have a native precursor to tomatillo and have been encouraging it to grow around my house. It grows without supplental water, a characteristic I want for my dry southwestern garden. The tomatillo are small but delicious. I can develop these wild plants into a landrace crop adapted to my home, and am 3 years into the process. I have some generic domesticated tomatillo seeds and will cross them back with the wild variety. I have not purchased tomatillo seed or tomatillos for cooking in the last 3 years. Do I have enough to satisfy yet? Nope. Closer every year, though. I don’t store these seeds in the house, they are stored naturally in the ground. A Food Forest provides low maintenance food.
My Bolita Beans are a local landrace variety that I purchased from a farm less than 30 miles from my house. I have been growing them for 3 years now, saving seed from them to continue their adaptation to my microclimate. I do not water these plants because it would weaken their adaption to my dry southwestern climate. I always hold a gallon jar of beans in reserve for planting to ensure enough seed stock for several years. Maintaining seed stock is critical for food security. Every season I replace them and cycle the beans into cooking. I have not purchased beans for 3 years.
This year I purchased a landrace variety of dry corn adapted to mountain conditions called Rocky Mountain Corn. It is an old heritage corn that has different colors in the kernels. If it will grow here, I will have purchased it once and produce seeds and food every year. Every year it will further adapt to my microclimate until it becomes a new landrace corn.
I bought a ristra of New Mexico chiles directly from the local farmer and they were the best I have eaten. I saved all the seeds for my own New Mexico chile. I had so many seeds that I risked some of them in an experiment so see if they would sprout and produce seed without supplemental watering. Epic fail. I got sprouts from about 50 seeds, but all died from lack of irrigation. I grew nine seedlings in the house and transplanted them to large flower pots, which I watered and ate as green chiles. I will continue to work with them and still have a pint of original seeds. I have not purchased chile seeds or green chile for two years. I have purchased more dried red chiles and saved their seeds in a separate container.
I read about a gentleman who plants dozens of varieties of single crops, does not irrigate, and keeps seed from whatever survives. He is speed dialing a landrace crop for his property.
Every year you save seeds you shift toward your own landrace variety. I recommend it and this is my answer to those trying to control the world food supply.