Interviews with experts on the science, politics, and culture of food
This is the third of an ongoing series with Dr. Alan Kapuler, founder of Peace Seeds, and former co-founder and research director for Seeds of Change. He currently resides in Corvallis, Oregon where he continues his research projects, and maintains his remarkable organic seed catalog.
We live in a hyper-competitive era where often the model of scarcity defines the economic value.
A winner take all—or, almost all—world, where large corporate conglomerates control access to the marketplace, and through monopolistic practices, especially in agriculture, keep prices paid to suppliers depressed at one end— at the other end, help to insure higher prices to be paid at the consumer level.
Agricultural patents on crops (and seeds) along with certain hybrid technologies limit further local adaptation. They also by design, lessen the biodiversity of commercial crop varieties available to farmers to grow, and ultimately present less choice for eaters at the table.
Public Domain Plant Breeding is the antidote to the closed, proprietary systems of agricultural biotechnology, and hybridization—it increases biodiversity, while also ensuring that the stranglehold of economic monopoly can not take hold, at least not, within its province.
In part 3 of this ongoing video series, Alan Kapuler shares his deep appreciation for the biological and ecological systems of the garden. Through his plant breeding efforts, Kapuler seeks to extend into the public domain a lifetime of work cultivating, growing and cataloging his seeds for the benefit of humanity.At a fundamental level, Kapuler understands that man occupies but a footprint in time; we no more own nature’s engine of life—the seed—than we own our next-door neighbor’s house, or a mountaintop containing coal.
In a capitalist society—to have winners, there must also be losers. The madness of our time is that we not only lay claim to that which clearly is not ours to ever own; we exchange for money the systematic destruction of the natural world. Heaping upon future generations an unbalanced, and unbalanceable ledger, as though left with money alone we will still manage to feed ourselves, and the world’s populations upon a denuded landscape.
As evidenced by the work of Alan Kapuler, open pollinated public domain plant breeding offers an alternative approach toward restoring balance to the natural world and man—an entirely different mindset from the dividing culture of war to one of a shared vision for peace.