What are your most precious possessions? That is, if today you had to choose what you consider most valuable in order to preserve it, what would it be? Think about it for a moment.

If your jewelry contains your gold jewelry, please reflect on whether this metal could ensure your existence in the event of a food shortage or a scenario in which money can no longer guarantee our well-being.

Perhaps the pandemic, which is putting the real value of things in place, has made you think of other options. Many countries have also reflected on what is worth preserving; the answer is crystal clear: seeds.

The seeds they are the origin of life

In fact, if we wanted to populate another planet, we would have to bring to it the most valuable for our lives; in this case, the big project would be to bring seeds for cultivation.

Furthermore, these are themselves food. Such is the case of sunflower seeds, chia, flaxseed, as well as grains –seeds- of wheat, rice and corn, and dried fruits such as walnuts, almonds, hazelnuts, pistachios. Similarly, beans, lentils, chickpeas, beans are seeds of leguminous plants.

Seeds are fundamental both for us and for all life on the planet since they are the germ of a new plant. For the native peoples a seed represents an accumulation of ancestral knowledge.

Seed banks

Given its power and absolute importance, in the world different seed banks have been created in which various species are kept to guarantee their cultivation and preservationExamples of this are: Svalbard Global Seed Deposit, Norway; Millennium Seed Bank in the United Kingdom; Australian Plant Bank; Camino Verde Seed Bank in the United States; World Vegetable Center in Taiwan; Seed Savers Exchange in Iowa, United States; Biodiversity Conservation Farm in Navdanya, India; Pima County Public Seed Library, Arizona, United States.

As can be assumed, a seed bank is a place where the appropriate conditions are enabled to conserve seed specimens of different plant species. Most plants produce seeds that can maintain their viability after being dried and frozen. The seeds of the specimens are kept in conditions of stable humidity, constant low temperature, low light and in labeled jars that show the variety, the place where they were collected and their characteristics. The objective of seed banks is to collect, clean, classify and storing seeds to preserve biodiversity and to have in the future as many plants as possible. This has become essential because botanical species are threatened. In Mexico there are 981 species in some category of risk, such as: a plant in danger of extinction, threatened, or under special protection.

The value of seeds

Perhaps you were completely unaware of the importance of seeds and until now you dismissed them as “useless”. Could not be farther from the truth, seeds are powerful in that they are “latent life” and potential food sources, therefore they are essential for the survival of humanity. They are the basic and most important input for all crops, any food project starts from them. In addition, the germination of any seed has an enormous lesson: seeing how a seed grows and understanding the times that this process takes connects us with nature.

For this reason, I invite you to save the seeds after eating a fruit so that, over time, you can germinate them and fill yourself with the source of life and good nutrition.

Guide to conserving seeds

Select the best seeds. Save the seeds of the best fruits (the fruit from which you extract the seeds must be ripe), as well as looking for your seeds to be of average size, complete and in good condition.
Clean the seeds. In order to save the seeds you must wash them with water or clean them carefully with a clean, damp cloth.
Dry the seeds. The seeds must be completely dry for a correct conservation; They must not contain humidity since they could germinate, rot or cause fungi. You can put them a few days on napkins in a ventilated place so that the moisture evaporates. If you want to use sunlight, do not expose the seeds directly as high temperatures could spoil them.
Store your seeds in glass jars, which must be completely dry and clean. It is important to close them well so that no moisture enters.
Keep your jars in a cool environment; that is, a temperature that oscillates between 2 ° C and 16 ° C.
Keep your jars in a dark or low light place. The seeds should be kept in places away from light.
Label your jars. It is very important to put labels on the jars that refer to all the information of our seeds such as the common name, the scientific name and the date of collection.

Do you want to create your own seed bank?

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Veronica V. Zentella She is a Doctor in Pedagogy from UNAM. Author and co-author of books and various articles, she works as a university teacher and teaches courses, workshops and diplomas to teachers of basic and higher education in Mexico.

Twitter: @verozentella