“Seed Saving” which is often referred to as “brown bagging” is an ancient practice that protects thousands of endangered and heirloom seeds. A major reason for Seed Saving was to improve bio diversity among farmers’ crops. Seed Saving also allowed farmers to see which varieties of crops grew better in different parts of the world under various environmental conditions. Seed Saving meant so much more than picking the best plant. Every seed saved meant something special to each farmer and family. Each seed told a story and represented culture. Seeds from all over were saved and passed down from generations to generations, which exemplifies a unique aspect of the practice of Seed Saving.
A couple years ago I attended a presentation on Seed Saving that was given by my former teacher Tim Mountz. Tim was given an old jar of beans from his grandfather and through learning about the various extinct and heirloom seeds that he obtained he realized his calling. I knew Tim as a mentor and teacher, but he was true farmer at heart. He had a passion for farming and loved teaching his students about what he did best. His passions lead him to opening Happy Cat Farm, which grows and sells their own seeds, artisanal foods, and produce. His journey began “with deep family roots, ancient soils and an old jar of beans”. Through his grandfathers legacy Tim was able to find a new way of life. Tim is dedicated to saving the seed and building relationships through food and culture. Tim adds, “Happy Cat Farm is dedicated to growing the best tomatoes ever in our pursuit of seed-to-table agriculture.” He explains that seed-to-table farming means that the “kitchen starts in the field” and that the seed marks the beginning of a story that ends on every plate. He shares this important message, because without local seed systems, true local food systems would never exist. Harnessing local food systems and saving the seeds are extremely important to agriculture, and to Tim. His biggest rewards are creating awareness and sharing Happy Cats’ passions to larger audiences.