News From National President Faith Tiberio ~ March 2010

“What to do with 500 million dollars!”

 How many of us have thought about the seeds we plant? It is so easy to buy a colorful packet of seeds and at least in my case, it has never occurred to me to question how a seed is saved, gathered and merchandised.  It has never occurred to me to think about breeding traits, about lost plants or about seed banks.  But in an important new book, THE VIKING IN THE WHEAT FIELD,  by Susan Dworkin, we learn that it would take only 500 million dollars, worldwide, to keep every seed safe for the future.  Scientists who work as guardians in seed banks are spread out so that only one “seed guardian” has to safeguard one million people.  It is thought that in the near future the population will reach 9 billion and worldwide starvation could happen.  As the big companies like Monsanto take over genetic engineering of our major crops like wheat and rice, we are losing fundamental agricultural material.

 We have spoken of the basic needs in Haiti….(1) a need for simple soil improvement; AND (2) simple agriculture.  At last a few articles have appeared suggesting this long lasting aid.  We members of WNF&G should support this approach as I mentioned last month.

 The Rochester Branch continues with great ideas and programs…..I loved the idea of a “potato” bar at its recent luncheon.  New York, under Audrey Ehrler is moving forward and sends out a beautiful newsletter by D. Brown, while the Keystone Branch at Ambler is having an all day symposium which I plan to attend and will report to you.  In the meantime keep in mind our forthcoming meeting in June which Mary Bertolini is creating for your pleasure, friendship and instruction.