Peasant Seeds: 5 Things To Know About The Craft Of Seed Artisanry

Unlike multinational seed companies, artisan seed producers often offer reproducible peasant varieties. Although this profession is largely unknown, the artisan seed producer helps to preserve humanity's food autonomy by multiplying and selecting peasant seeds each year. Here are 5 things to know about this trade.

Seed producers possess artisanal expertise.

Even though the term "artisan seed producer" may initially seem surprising, it is perfectly justified since professionals in this sector possess artisanal know-how. They have, in particular, technical mastery of tools such as the sieve, which is essential for the seed cleaning stage. Although it is a simple tool, using a sieve requires specific gestures for each type of traditional seeds.

They perpetuate a human-scale agricultural model.

Artisan seed producers also have the characteristic of producing seeds on a small scale, which allows them to conduct quality selection at every stage of cultivation.

Unlike multinationals that hold over 60% of the global seed market, they operate modest-sized production plots.

The amount of peasant seeds produced for each species is also limited, such that one can refer to a "human-scale" agricultural model.

They follow the entire life cycle of the plant.

The work of a seed craftsman is paced by the cycle of the seasons. Another uniqueness of this profession lies in the fact that the producer of peasant seeds follows the entire life cycle of the plant, from seed to seed.

The first step involves planning the crops and selecting the varieties to be multiplied. This specialist must also determine the number of parent plants needed for production.

From summer to the beginning of winter, he harvests the seeds at an optimal stage of maturity and drying. Then begins the stage of cleaning in his sorting workshop. For each species, the seed sorting requires specific expertise.

Each batch of seeds produced is then tested in the germination workshop. It is indeed necessary to validate the quality of the seeds before they can be packaged. Packaging is done by hand.

All these production steps must be completed before the marketing season, which generally extends from the end of winter to the beginning of summer.

They are the guardians of the ancient varieties.

Some seed craftsmen have made this specialty their main activity, while others are market gardeners or breeders who produce peasant seeds in addition to their profession.

But, regardless of their profile, seedsmen always take care to cultivate the species by isolating them from each other to avoid unintended crossbreeding.

Their trade goes beyond mere seed production as they also perform a selection work, aimed at preserving the visual characteristics of a variety (such as its shape, size, and color) and favoring certain qualities (the sweetest fruits or those that keep the best and the plants that are most resistant to diseases).

Seedsmen are the guardians of ancient varieties. Within the same species, they perpetuate different varieties, even when they do not meet the demands of industrial production. This is the case, for example, with the Nice beef heart tomato or the Oda purple pepper. Without the work of artisan seedsmen, these ancient varieties could risk disappearing, as they are not listed in the official Catalog of plant species and varieties.

They offer seeds adapted to challenging growing conditions.

The heirloom seeds offered by a seed craftsman have the dual advantage of being reproducible and remaining productive even under difficult conditions. Practically, this means that these seeds have been selected to continue producing, even with little water and fertilizer.

Seed craftsmen typically grow their seed plants according to the requirements of organic farming. The purchase of organic heirloom seeds is part of an overall approach to respecting the soil and the health of people and the environment.

These seeds cost a bit more, but the price difference is justified by the way they have been produced and by the possibility of reproducing these seeds to gain food autonomy. In the gardening section, as with other purchases, you can become a conscientious consumer by favoring these seeds that are more respectful of the Earth and humanity.

Author: Audrey
Copyright image: Michael Burrows on Pexels
Tags: seeds, seed, varieties, species, Artisan, peasant, plant, life cycle, winter, Sorting, market, Sieve, autonomy, food, artisanal, organic farming, fertilizer, Know-how, water, dual, listed, organic, heirloom seeds, soil, HEALTH, BIT, price, gardening, consumer, PURPLE, oda, seed cleaning, multinationals, seed producer, producer, summer, seed companies, multinational, germination, marketing, crossbreeding, industrial, Nice, heart, Earth,
More informations:
In French: Semences paysannes : 5 choses à savoir sur le métier d'artisan semencier
En español: Semillas campesinas: 5 cosas que saber sobre la profesión de artesano semillero.
In italiano: Sementi contadine: 5 cose da sapere sul mestiere di artigiano sementiere
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