Most of us in the Western world get the majority of our food from the local grocery store. Generally, they are huge buildings that are stocked with an amazing variety of food from across the planet. These massive food stores, however, depend on a supply chain that is much more fragile than it might appear at first glance. In truth, these stores only carry enough food to last them two or three days – and anyone who’s been through a hurricane/storm panic knows that it can be far less in practice if the store besieged by a panicking crowd looking to hoard the last remaining pineapples. You and I, dear Insteading reader, already know this. That’s why we have gardens.
Indeed, for thousands of years humans have been growing plants and saving seeds. This is one of the simplest explanations of gardening (urban or otherwise) there is. However, this process won’t work if your seeds are infertile – and if you’ve been buying seeds from a large retailer, you probably have genetically modified (GMO) seeds that are designed to be infertile. That’s bad.
Enter: Heirloom Seeds
Heirloom seeds are “heirlooms” in exactly the same way a quality watch is an heirloom, in that they survive for – and provide for! – generations of farmers.
Today, heirloom seeds are bred for their hardiness, taste, and so forth without gene-splicing. This is the natural method of modifying seeds and livestock, choosing the best plants and saving their seeds to plant next year in a system that mimics natural selection. You can buy heirloom seeds to ensure the long-term survival of your urban garden in the form of the Survival Seed Vault from Patriot Supply, which provides 20 different heirloom seeds in a sealed pack that will last at least five years. You can also try to contact organizations like the Seed Savers’ Exchange, whose members “have been passing on our garden heritage by collecting and distributing thousands of samples of rare garden seeds to other gardeners since 1975”.
Once the food is stripped out, what are your options? You could either depend on other people to supply you with food, or you could learn how to grow your own – and make sure you’ll be able to grow your own for years to come. You know, just in case the Zombies are beating down doors.