Brent Knoll, of Brent’s Organic Gardens, understands the superiority of heirloom seeds. Heirloom seeds are seeds that have been passed through the generations for hundreds of years. They have been lovingly tended and carefully preserved by the sons and daughters of the planters that came before and so they carry with them a legacy of respect and devotion. They bring us back to a time and a state of mind that placed natural virtue well above material vanity. It is a kind of culture when mothers and fathers pass down the essence of their joyful labors, and sons and daughters inherit natural abundance and sustainable prosperity. The saving and passing on of seeds is the last vestige of our natural heritage and a clear reflection of our working connection to nature.
Heirloom vegetables will always stand out and bring a special atmosphere to any garden. They have personalities of their own; bright colors, stunning patterns, rich flavors, stimulating textures, and a strong hearty constitution. The lineage of heirloom plants preserves the knowledge gained from their collective experiences. Plants have an exceptional capacity for adapting to the conditions of their environment. They can alter their processes and structure to become less vulnerable to particular pests, fungi, and chronic soil conditions that are becoming more common as the planet itself begins to change. These learned adjustments begin to develop over the generations as the plants begin to code these developmental changes into their new seeds. When the lines of these plants are preserved, their wisdom is passed down and continues to grow greater in each new seed.
Seeds that are sold by large companies are often hybrid seeds. This means that to create these seeds two varieties of plant from the same species were intentionally crossed to produce the best traits of both parent plants; e.g. preserving the large size of the father and the prolific yield of the mother. This method of production is used to breed plants that will embody exceptional traits, yet unlike the open pollination heirloom plants who develop these traits organically over generations, hybrid plants have these traits embedded immediately through human manipulation. Of course any man made manipulation of a natural process is most often a short sighted solution that will become a great detriment in the big picture. When the hybrid method is used to create plant seeds, the plant may grow well and yield prolifically but the genetic structure is too unstable to produce viable seeds. In other words seeds from hybrid plants cannot be saved for future sowing or passed down to the next generation.
There should be a clear distinction made at this point between hybrid plants and genetically modified plants (GMO). Hybrid seeds are not the same as GMO. While they share essential traits and common disadvantages through their manipulation of nature, the GMO process uses a more intense approach that results in a much more dangerous ecological outcome. Hybrid seeds are created by intentionally breeding particular plants to create a desired plant trait in offspring.
Genetic modification of plants is the direct manipulation of the genes themselves. Often times genes are used that do not even come from plants but rather fish genes or even genes of harmful bacteria. Genetic modification can be a highly dangerous and incredibly irresponsible endeavor that only exists out of a fluctuating combination of public ignorance, blind greed, and misguided desire to save humanity. The biggest problem with this industrial process is that there is no way to opt out of it. Seeds by design are made to spread across great distance and cannot be contained. Pollen drifts through the open air and seeds float across the fields on the breeze. If someone is using GMO plants in their garden or farm, they are putting at risk an area larger than most would imagine.
While the difference in intensity is quite clear, in the context of seed saving, GMO and hybrid seeds arrive at the same essential downfall. When the seeds we sow cannot produce seeds of their own they become, quite literally, unsustainable. While this becomes quite conducive to the consumerist system of our culture by veiling the free providence of nature and making us dependent upon a marketplace or manufacturer, it allows us to fall out of alignment with the natural order to where we cannot harmonize with our inherent natural legacy. If we cannot preserve the natural history that is at the very root of our sustenance as ecological co-creators then we gradually erase our place and purpose in this world of being.
Brent understands these issues very well and furthermore he understands them on a very practical level. While others are ranting and raving about the politics of it all and engaging in laborious self perpetuating struggles of the mind, Brent brings the simple practical solutions to the grassroots of us all. We all have the opportunity to practice our views about this issue in a joyful productive way. When we grow our food sustainably and responsibly in our own back yards then our voice grows and fruits in the sight of our universal neighbors. What we do and how we live becomes the loudest clearest and most influential argument for natural harmony and the case for sustainable natural freedom.
Heirloom plants provide superior flavor, texture, and heartiness than any other method of seed creation. They perpetuate the freedom of nature and alleviate great financial strain by continually providing the seeds of their own reproduction again and again. They afford us the ability to offer an inheritance to our children that will nourish and serve not only them but their children and their children’s children.
When Brent plants fruit and veggie gardens for his clients across Miami, he uses the methods that best suit us all. Brent works with heirloom seeds that his predecessors have been using for generations. He sows and waters those seeds with joyful memories of his youth and the love of those who planted before him. He preserves and cherishes the seeds to be replanted again and again in the gardens of the children who are enjoying the sweet fruits of those seeds today.