Why I actually Care about seeds!
After the 2007 turbulence in the wheat supply and the following upset in rice, I decided to become less dependent upon the market and have a bit more of a buffer in my food supply chain. I did what a lot of others have done and added more wheat and rice to my food storage, but then I realized I wanted a more long term plan as well. What I mean is that because of where I live, this great supply was only going to be consumed because it couldn't grow more grain. In the financial world, this is sometimes known as a false asset. I wanted a true asset that could perpetuate, so I started looking into seeds.
What I found left me more disturbed than comforted.
The current seed market has been infiltrated by huge corporations who want to make sure that no one but them can provide the world with seeds. By genetic modification (splicing animal, plant, or bacterial genes into the DNA code) we have a huge supply of seeds that are either sterile, or which have possible side effects to humans that we haven't thoroughly tested. These seeds are marketed to modern farmers because of the "extra benefits" they were origianlly modified for.
The other common seeds on the market are less scary in some ways, but still quite unstable - the hybrid seeds. Most of these are sterile, so you're out of luck for next year unless you open more packs of seeds. There are some that will work next year when saved, but you just don't know what you're going to get. You're at the mercy of volatile genetics which might produce anything - it's like playing russian roulette picking Bertie Botts Every Flavor Bean! As you can tell, I'm not too excited about gambling with my food supply.
Heirloom seeds quickly emerged as my favorite solution. These are seeds that have been proven for at least 50 years to have all kinds of awesome benefits. First of all, They have boat loads of flavor over the gocery store hybrids that have been bred for longer shelf life so then can make it from "Timbuktu" to your grocery store to you with out rotting - regardless of blandness! I also think it's quite amazing that over the years, the heirloom strains have naturally built resistance to things like pests and droughts. In fact there are some heirloom varieties that take less water than their distant hybrid cousins. Last of all, when planting heirlooms you know what you're going to get next year, because their offspring will be almost identical to the parent plant.
With all this in mind, I searched out a few companies who sell heirloom seeds, and came up with my own rating system to see who I wanted to work with to build my own "food security program".
So check out my chart if you are having trouble deciding which seed bank is best.