Did you know that four global corporations control more than 60% of the seed stocks grown around the world? Many of the seeds are patented, which means that farmers aren’t allowed to save them to use the next year, as many have done for thousands of years. Seed saving has been a critical tool to preserve native plants, develop the best crops for the growing climate, and ensure economic prosperity for farmers.

The global seed industry mostly focuses on replicating just a few seed varieties that are suitable to large-scale food production. The preservation of seeds adapted to smaller micro-climates, such as to the Wood River Valley, are left to forward-thinking farmers and gardeners. Plants adapt to the soil, water, and air in the place where they are grown. By saving generation after generation of seeds, we help ensure a hearty and resilient food supply.

In the face of climate change, natural disasters, and a globalized agricultural industry, it is critical to protect our seed supply. Seed saving is gaining ground locally thanks to the efforts of the Wood River Seed Library (WRSL). Founded in 2014 by John Caccia, the seed library is now managed by Manon Gaudreau, Pam Parker, and Amy Mattias.

This month, WRSL is planning two seed packaging work parties - February 7 and 23, 10am to 12pm - at the Hailey Grange to get seeds ready to distribute to those who want them. In addition, on February 28 from 5:30 to 6:30pm, WRSL and other local organizations will host a free talk on the importance of seed diversity and launch a new seed library at Hailey Public Library. All these events are free and open to the public.

For more information, email woodriverseedlibrary@gmail.com or visit www.grange.org/upperbigwoodriverid192/seeds/. Learn more about local seed saving at Rocky Mountain Seed Alliance and shop for local seeds from Snake River Seed Cooperative.

Amy Mattias

Amy is passionate about regenerative agriculture, knowing where her food comes from, and growing community resilience.