Scandinavian heirlooms for wellbeing

S. Friis Pedersen
Seed availability in general has narrowed tenfold down, comparing seed catalogs in a century perspective. Not only the supply offered by catalogs has minimized; the seed supply chain has been monopolized to a few giant companies globally. Organic horticulture depends on this market supply but could also take more advantage on local seed exchange of open pollinated varieties. Open pollinated varieties, often heirlooms, offer the gardener an opportunity to be self-sufficient with viable, locally adapted seeds. Heirlooms are, if not susceptible to pathogens, often quite suitable and adaptive to organic small-scale cultivation. They will yield reasonable even though fertilization is not abundant, and they will yield longer per season. The recent adjustment of EU regulation for organic production will possibly open for use of non-certified organic seed like heirlooms. The objective of this work was to examine if seed-savers-organizations may provide site-specific and reliable seeds for organic horticulture. The scope was limited to a Scandinavian case study where a formal and an informal seed market exists side by side. Seed saving and seed exchange have a long tradition in Sweden, Denmark and Norway, often in organized networks. The Nordic Genetic Resource Centre (Nordgen) plays a prominent role providing and conserving Nordic heirlooms. Some heirlooms have even been reintroduced to national variety lists. Each of Scandinavian countries host at least one seed company providing only organic seeds but very dedicated to heirlooms. In all Scandinavian countries, there is an increasing interest in heirloom varieties. This might lead to an increased interest for organic gardening, supporting the well-being of the environment and the population.
Friis Pedersen, S. (2020). Scandinavian heirlooms for wellbeing. Acta Hortic. 1286, 17-22
DOI: 10.17660/ActaHortic.2020.1286.3
seed exchange, seed biodiversity, seed market, participatory plant breeding

Acta Horticulturae