Friday, April 22, 2011

Farmer Hero Friday: Earth Day and Family Farmers

MattToday brings a special edition of Farmer Hero Friday! Since today is Earth Day, it seems especially appropriate to highlight the work family farmers do every day to keep the soil, water and air healthy on their farms for future generations. Preserving biodiversity is one way farmers are important stewards of our land. Not only is it healthy for the environment, but if you've tasted some of the hundreds of varieties of purple, green, or even white heirloom tomatoes, you've enjoyed that work firsthand.

The Gettles

Today's Farmer Hero is Jere Gettle, who started Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds at age 17. He talks about expanding availability for heirloom seeds and the hard work it takes to keep his seed from becoming infected by pollen from genetically engineered seed.

"There are hundreds of reasons why [biodiversity] is important," said Jere, including protecting our farms against blight and other diseases that can have significant economic implications and ultimately lead to famines. In addition to supporting biodiversity, Jere's customers cite fear of genetically altered produce and the history that each plant holds as their top reasons for investing in heirloom seeds. In fact, Jere sells seeds that can be traced back to Thomas Jefferson and others grown by the native people of many South American and Southeast Asian countries where seed origins can be traced back over a thousand years.
Click here to read the rest of Jere's story.

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