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Welcome to the Sonoma County Gazette ARCHIVE of PAST EDITIONS. Our NEW WEBSITE is up and running, so GazExtra is serving as your path to archived articles. Thanks for being part of our Sonoma County community...stay in touch...e-mail me - VESTA

Monday, September 12, 2011

Why Heirlooms

By Vesta Copestakes There’s a movement afoot to bring back heirloom varieties of plants - especially plants that we eat - with plenty of good reasons why. Factory farming has not only robbed vegetables of ther flavor, the practice has also made plants vulnerable to disease and pests. Yes, genetically modified plants can be created to resist disease, but in all honesty, plants do that very well by themselves. It simply (I use that word lightly) requires time and a diversified environment. Put any plant in a monoculture and it will become vulnerable quickly.

Locally we have the Occidental Arts & Ecology Center ( which nutures all kind of plants from ones we eat to ones strictly for beauty. And they do it simply to preserve the specices. Down in Petlauma , Paul Wallace has dedicated his entrepreneurial energy to selling seeds and rootstock of pure varieties to encourage people to raise the plants that will sustain us over time...plants that have history, genes that have been strengthened over time through drought, disease and pest invasions.

Visit The Seed Bank on the corner of Washington St & Petaluma Boulevard in downtown Petaluma any time, or take some time to explore the Heirloom Exposisiton at the Sonoma County Fairgorunds on September 13, 14 & 15.

The festival features natural food vendors from seeds to tools and everything in between. There will be educational seminars to attend with experts in their fields, and workshops for people making a living out of maintaining the health and variety of our food sources. There will even be movies on the subejct such as Sonoma County Beekeepers’ Assoc. (SCBA), screening of ‘Vanishing ofthe Bees’.

You can get complete information by visiting or stop by The Seed Bank to take a look around, then pick up a brochure on everything that’s going on. Three days should give you enough time to do a bit of wandering and learning about how we can keep the healthiest and tastiest varieties of food on this planet for years to come. These passionate peole will help us all survive.

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