The Phaserl


Seed Guardians: These Indigenous Women Protect Future Plant Biodiversity

by Christina Sarich, Underground Reporter:

Plant and seed biodiversity are threatened in many parts of the world, but Aboriginal Australian women are helping to preserve one of the most valuable resources their country has — indigenous secrets to seed saving that have been practiced for over a thousand years.

Nyul Nyul, Karajarri, and Bardi Jawi Oorany women ranger groups are being taught how to preserve some of the most precious plants in the Australian landscape, which might otherwise be lost due to weather changes that cause drought and fire, pests, and the infiltration of biotech seed.

Many rare plants in the Australian Outback have been used for centuries for medicine, food, and even as implements to carry water or defend tribal people. Other traditional plants have spiritual purposes in ceremonies and are used for the cultivation of higher knowledge. These indigenous women have been entrusted to regenerate both cultural and agricultural knowledge that is being lost, but much more would go with it, were these specialized skills not saved.

Indigenous peoples, local communities, and peasant farmers practice and retain traditional knowledge, which ‘outsiders,’ such as companies that grow terminator seeds, do not possess.

The hope is that long-term skills will be relearned and can then be passed on to newer generations.

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