To say that I was inspired by Janisse Ray’s The Seed Underground: A Growing Revolution to Save Food, would exceed my understatement limit for the week. Before I even finished it, I purchased three more copies to increase my chances of still having one after I start giving it to friends who are on the verge of grasping where our food system is currently heading. I told my husband that when he was finished reading this book, he would better understand his wife, his yard, and his dinner.
Ray weaves her own story of coming to understand food in a deep and fundamental way with many stories of seed savers around the United States and the why, if not so much the exact details of how, they do what they do. It’s not an instruction manual. It’s more a “This I Believe” manifesto of seed saving.
If I could have put the book down, I would have done it in order to plant, collect, or share seeds of the nearest vegetable at hand. The book makes you want to DO something. It lifts you past the doom and gloom of species and varieties disappearing or being forever fouled by the poison of corporate gene manipulation to the beautiful simplicity of action you can take right now to be part of the solution.
You finish the book with the knowledge that seed savers are out there. Seed savers are messy and neat, healthy and sick, on small lots and vast acreage, saving a single variety or dozens at once. Seed savers are people saving food. And maybe seed savers are just like you.
So, don’t read this. Get out there and save some seeds. And take The Seed Underground with you to keep you in good company along the way.