Diversity of plants and animals is very important. It makes living things adaptable. It allows wild and domesticated species to withstand threats like diseases, climate changes, pests, and other unpredictable conditions. With enough variation in a group, there will always be come individuals that are naturally suited to survive and can thrive under any changing situation.
Food biodiversity is a key ingredient in creating a secure and sustainable food system. Diversity in plants also gives us a "treasure chest" of options for raising the healthiest and most productive crops. No matter what changes happen in our food system, we will always be able to adapt if we have enough genetic diversity.
Biodiversity Builds Security
Throughout the world, people rely on cultivated plants for their food. Even food that comes from animals – meat, milk, and eggs – depends on cultivated plants for the animals to eat. But in Canada, and around the world, the food system is constantly changing. We are going to need a diverse, vibrant and regionally-adapted gene pool to draw on, to adapt to changes in -
- pests and diseases
- nutritional needs
- growing practices
- energy costs
Biodiversity Builds Opportunity
The best local and regional foods can only be grown with seed varieties bred for those regions. Many Canadian-bred varieties are no longer available commercially. Most seeds are produced overseas and traded through a global wholesale system. Since Canadian agriculture is a relatively small market, the global system does not provide our growers with our home-bred seed varieties.
This has contributed to a decline in Canada's food self-sufficiency. We have become dependent on imported produce, and we have all but forgotten the Canadian and local varieties that fed local markets only a few decades ago.
We can restore agricultural productivity in marginal, coastal, and northern areas by restoring the regionally-adapted varieties that originated and thrived there, and by selectively improving new varieties from those invaluable genetics.
We need gardeners to save seeds! Join Seeds of Diversity to participate in our annual seed exchange, or adopt a variety in our seed library.