A seed is a tiny miracle that contains infinite, edible, perpetual, fractal versions of itself, given away, exuberantly and without judgment, for free. The roots of each plant are an embroidery of microbial relationships. Last year I heard a wise man say that a healthy seed is a library of sunlight, moonlight, starlight, and rain, an encyclopedia of wind and soil that, together, make up the totality of knowing how to thrive in a place. A wise woman said that it takes twenty generations for seeds to know how to properly nourish the people and animals of a place. Seed saving is an ancient practice that has become an act of defiance because in order for seeds to grow there must be a future.
These days, seed saving has a new and dangerous role to protect Life from the mutant seeds whose treasures have been bred out of them and supplanted by poison. We are expected to eat these genetically modified plants without complaint, along with the livestock that have ingested the poisoned pellets and the depleted fodder those plants produce. If we refuse, we find ourselves poisoned anyway, for the toxins they contain are designed to permeate earth, water and air. It’s like the dream my son had as a teenager: A toxic gray fog forms in the neighbor’s yard and drifts between the spaces in the fence, into our garden, spreading through the neighborhood. The poison fog can go everywhere. There is no escape.
Surely the right to decide how we nourish ourselves is among the most basic, fundamental and inalienable rights of all. This includes the right to know – and decide – what’s in the food we eat, where and how it is grown, by whom, with what intent, and under what conditions. It includes the right to live in ongoing, vibrant relationship with the seeds we care to cultivate.
Like radiation, the glyphosate in genetically modified food destroys intracellular communication. Specifically, glyphosate disrupts the signaling mechanisms that regulate the gateways and barriers designed to prevent toxins from entering the bloodstream. It forces itself into our bodies without our permission. It’s a microscopic police state battering down the doors to our kidneys, bladder, lungs and intestines, killing humans, animals, water, bees and soil. When Monsanto assures us that GMO poisons are ‘safe’ because we eliminate them in our urine, this statement is only partially true. Poisons can, indeed, reach our urine - because they pass through our kidneys and bladder first. Not safe.
Intracellular communication is the mechanism by which the body distinguishes between healthy cells and aberrant ones. A healthy body regulates itself, and compromised cells often self-destruct. One of the strongest contributing factors for cancer is the disruption of intracellular communication. When we humans isolate ourselves from the natural world and do not communicate with it as before, we are behaving like a malignancy. Here is a point of reference: At first contact (when Europeans initially arrived in the Americas) evidence suggests that the Native inhabitants of what is now the US and Canada lived in a state of such balance that disease was unknown.
I have a friend in Bethlehem, a Palestinian woman who has started a seed bank in the plaza above Mary’s Well. But the tourists who flock to Bethlehem do not visit the seed bank. They are too busy looking for the source of eternal life. They understand Jesus to be the seed that, when ingested, unlocks the gates of eternity. I think of the famous lines from the Bible: For G-d so loved the world that He gave His one and only son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life. I am innately suspicious of gifts with strings attached. A true gift has no price, no preconditions, no quid pro quo, no other shoe that will drop if certain lopsided conditions are not met. Even a huge sacrifice, if freely given, is still a gift. The words that have come down to us must be a distortion, an error of translation or perhaps a cunning edit.
Like all other life forms, humans have an ecological niche that helps to sustain Life. As with all other organisms, humans and Earth are meant to be entwined in reciprocity. Traditional Ecological Knowledge (TEK) shows us the many ways that Earth and humans are woven together for the good of the Whole. The Earth sustains us, and in return we add our voices to the exuberant chorus of praise. We offer gratitude. We behave with humility. We cultivate reverence, awe, respect, and appreciation. We learn careful tending such that Earth’s abundance is well shared and fully protected.
Maybe the original wording went something like this: For the Life Force so loved humans that S/he gave them Her only begotten World; and S/he so loved the World that to Earth S/he gave humans, that Humans and Earth may be blessings unto each other.