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New seed bank preserves Southwest crops

October 25, 2010

Article source: http://www.kold.com/Global/story.asp?S=13364756&clienttype=printable

Source: Greg McCown

By Erin Jordan 

TUCSON, AZ (KOLD) – Five years and $1.2 million, that’s what it took to protect the seeds of the Southwest.

“It’s a dream come true for the organization.” says Bryn Jones, the Executive Director of Native Seed Search.

She is leading the charge to store the future offspring of Sonoran Desert Plants.

“We’re conserving the rich agricultural history of the Southwest and we’re doing it with the benefit of the traits that these seeds carry with them.” says Jones.

According to Director of Conservation Suzanne Nelson saving seeds, saves genetic diversity which leads to stronger crops.

“The southern corn blight and the Irish potato famine, those are both examples of when all your crop is susceptible to a single disease and gets wiped out.” says Nelson.

The seed bank’s walk-in refrigerator sits at a chilly 45 degrees.

Stored there are hundreds of different kinds of seeds, some dating back thousands of years, like the modern ancestor of corn.

If you have a green thumb, Native Seed Search also sells their seeds online or at their store located at 3061 North Campbell Avenue.

If you don’t have a green thumb, help is on the way.

The new seed bank is built on abandoned agricultural land in Midtown.

Native Seed Search, in partnership with Pima County, plans to develop demonstration gardens, heirloom orchards, classrooms, a community kitchen and plaza on the historic farmland.

©2010 KOLD. All rights reserved.

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