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Saving seeds is an ancient and universal practice that has both grounded and propelled agriculture for millennia. The widespread transition from “hunter-gatherer” to “agriculturalist” among humans – dated these days at 12,000 years ago – centered on the domestication of edible wild plants into cultivated crops: in short, the selecting and saving of seed with desired traits so as to replant later and/or elsewhere. The practice of saving seeds has always entailed complex social and cultural dimensions, as seeds have physical as well as metaphysical currency in many agrarian societies. The people in a community who held the responsibility of saving seeds – often women, often elders – were endowed with a critical social obligation and function. This is still the case in traditionally agrarian communities across the continents. As...
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