Seed Savers – Open Source Wheat?

By 15 February, 2011 8

I’m working with a few like-minded Organic gardeners to set up a seed savers network for Canberra. At present I’m looking for any number of vegetables and legumes which have been acclimatised to the Canberra region.

One seed I’m finding hard to trace down is wheat that is not encumbered by copyrights, patents or “plant breeder’s rights”. We’re hoping to find a strain or three of wheat (and other cereals) that we can provide to others for them to grow, without having to pay licence fees or royalties to third parties. Ideally the strain will have been grown on the same farm for more than 30 years.

If you have or know of a supply of wheat seed which has not been contaminated by GM genes, has not been patented, is not subject to PBR, and has been grown successfully in the Canberra/Goulburn region, I’d love to obtain a sample so we can keep the strain alive.

Similarly, if you have a stock of food plant seeds that your and your family have been growing in Canberra for a few decades, the Canberran seed savers group would love to hear about it. Respond to this thread, we’ll organise a swap meet soon!

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8 Responses to Seed Savers – Open Source Wheat?
#1
Chaz11:29 am, 15 Feb 11

Love the idea. I’ll be keeping an eye out for the swap meet. Good luck with it all

#2
p112:35 pm, 15 Feb 11

+1 for being interested in how you go with this.

#3
Postalgeek1:13 pm, 15 Feb 11

Do you have an email address where people can register interest?

#4
ohpiem1:29 pm, 15 Feb 11

Considering there is no GM wheat commercially released anywhere in the world, good luck finding any wheat germplasm with transgenic traits.

Of course, what we call ‘wheat’ today is so far removed from the ancient land races it is derived from it is barely recognisable. The Egyptians were genetically modifying wheat (without the aid of modern biotechnology) in the time of the Pharoahs.

#5
Grail11:17 pm, 15 Feb 11

ohpiem said :

Considering there is no GM wheat commercially released anywhere in the world, good luck finding any wheat germplasm with transgenic traits.

It’s not just GM that we’re trying to avoid, it’s licencing fees due to “plant breeder’s rights” which basically means that if you cross strain A with strain B you can claim the rights over the cross. PBR were supposed to help protect rose breeders and the like, so third parties couldn’t replicate their prize winning roses. The aim here is to derive strains which we can share without falling afoul of someone’s PBRs or patents.

There are plenty of GMOs in Australia – ask farmers in WA or VIC about how difficult “Roundup Ready” canola is to deal with. There’s a case in court here in Australia which mirrors the Shmeiser case from Canada – Steve Marsh is having trouble getting Monsanto to contribute to cleanup costs after Roundup-Ready Canola was blown onto his Organic farm: http://www.ausfoodnews.com.au/2010/12/10/gm-canola-contaminates-organic-farm.html

#6
Grail11:19 pm, 15 Feb 11

Postalgeek said :

Do you have an email address where people can register interest?

I’ll post here on the RiotACT when we have something of interest. Look for something happening about this time next year: long enough after plants have gone to seed that they can be stored!

#7
Grail12:14 am, 16 Feb 11

In the meantime of course, refer to the various seed saver sites for advice on how to collect and store seeds from the plants growing in your garden this year.

http://www.seedsavers.org/

http://seedsavers.net/

I guess a better time for a seed swap would be before the last frosts this year, so people have new and interesting stuff to grow for Spring. Serves me right for posting under the influence!

#8
Grail12:55 pm, 24 Feb 11

COGS seedsavers had our first actual seed saving session last weekend. So now we’re busy setting up our seed driers, bags and labels.

Register interest with me for the moment, until we get ourselves better organised: grail@goldweb.com.au

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