This month’s main theme focuses on seeds – the real things, that is. In their bounty, however, they also offer a lazy metaphor for almost anything that flourishes. So here goes.
The next time you see New Internationalist magazine it will have grown. For the past few months a fresh variety has been germinating in the fertile soils of Oxford, Adelaide, Ottawa and Christchurch. It has evolved organically in response to runaway climate change in the media, but without genetic modification to its roots. It will blossom in October to attract the pollinators it needs (not beleaguered bees, by the way, but you, our beloved subscribers, and your friends) to fertilize an ecosystem otherwise suffocated by invasive corporate monoculture. People have three-colour vision just to tell the difference, so the red of this new growth’s delicious fruit will be set against a background of leafy green. A staple crop of information, ideas and inspiration from around the world is, assuredly, the best way to nourish and propagate a future worth having.
So, elsewhere in this ‘heritage’ magazine, there’s a foretaste of greater diversity to come: the long-awaited cross-fertilization of a major trade union (the United Steelworkers in the US) with a big co-operative (Mondragón in the Basque Country); a bloom of activism, and another potential infestation of corporate control, on the World Wide Web. The seeds of possibility may lie dormant in ground made barren by corporate globalization, but they are still fertile.
David Ransom for the New Internationalist co-operative.
The world’s seed markets are being gobbled up by ‘life-science’ corporations – but peasant farmers still feed the world. David Ransom reports.
Wakehurst Place is a stately house set in majestic grounds; the rural offshoot of Kew Botanic Gardens, London. On a working day in summer, pensioners drift through the shade of exotic trees, sniff scented blooms, sip tea, gaze out over bucolic bliss.
‘Minus 20 degrees,’ says Michael Way, Head of Collecting at Kew’s Millennium Seed Bank Project at Wakehurst. He’s indicating heavy doors off an airlocked dry-room sunk deep into the ground beneath a gigantic modernist shed. Here are preserved se...