Since 1900, the world has lost more than 90% of the global genetic biodiversity in our food plants. They are extinct, irretrievable. These plants have disappeared largely as a result of the industrialisation of our food production.
In particular, the Koanga Institute is saving the seeds that are New Zealand heritage seeds – those that were brought to Aotearoa by our ancestors and grown in gardens here. These seeds have continued the process of co-evolution here with us for many generations. We have a collection of over 700 seed lines, which makes our collection unique, as the seeds are adapted to our climates, soils and cultural needs. They are almost all the seeds of our own ancestors. Our own heritage seeds are the strongest seeds that we have in this land. These seeds are us.
We have always ‘felt’, as did the old gardeners that our own food plants were able to nourish us more fully than either seeds selected and saved in other lands for other people or seeds grown and selected and saved by the multinationals. There is more science coming through every day to support our ‘feelings’. Check out Deep Nutrition, (Catherine Shanahan) or Primal Body Primal Mind (Nora Gedgaudas) .
We now understand that the communication between our food and our DNA is what determines our health and the health of our DNA as we pass it on down. The quality of the communication between our food and our bodies is mainly determined by the connections between our growing plants and the health of the soil or water where they were grown, which is in part determined by the quality of the seeds. Our heritage seeds contain the potential for having a far closer relationship with our environment and our bodies because they all co- evolved together!
This is my understanding from 30 years of ‘feeling’ it, as the ancestors did, and also now of studying the science through the Principles of Biological Agriculture (especially a la A. F. Beddoe Nourishment Home Grown) and Epigenetics, as described by Catherine Shanahan.
The Institute’s collection of rare and endangered seeds is available only to it’s members, who support us through their memberships to keep them alive. From this range each year we release a range of seeds under our Koanga Gardens brand – these are available to the general public via our website and in selected retail outlets.
Koanga Seeds are all grown in New Zealand, by us. Our seed growers are committed to sustainable, biological agriculture, and organic growing methods, that produce high quality, open pollinated, nutrient dense seeds. Koanga Seeds have been specifically selected over many generations by our ancestors for their unique qualities, including nutritional density, disease resistance, specific flavors, and end uses in the kitchen.
Koanga Seeds are adapted for New Zealand people, soils and climates. They are grown in New Zealand by artisan gardeners, in highly mineralized, biologically active soils. Koanga Seeds have never to our knowledge, been grown by multinational agribusiness – they are the seeds from the gardens of our own ancestors, as we grow them each year we keep them alive and viable.
Our Brand, the beautiful gourd drawn for us by Franzi represents all of the above…every time you see that brand feel the love that has been passed on down to you by the ancestors and know that you too, are a vital part of that chain of evolution. Each time you plant one of these seeds you are helping keep the chain strong, and you are also doing the best thing possible to maintain the integrity of your own health and DNA which as we see it is a vital part of our responsibility as human beings. It certainly is an essential part of what ‘sustainable living’ must encompass!