Heirloom seeds have been used along with our heirloom farming practices. What does heirloom mean?
Heirloom means a valuable object that has belonged to a family for several generations. What does heirloom seeds mean?
Heirloom seeds are open-pollinated, meaning they rely on natural pollination from insects or the wind. Generally, heirloom plants are grown on a small scale using traditional techniques and are raised from seeds that are at least 50 years old.
So, why heirloom practices? Our reasons are varied but heirlooms have adapted over time to whatever climate and soil they have grown in. Due to their strong and inherited genetics, they are most often resistant to local pests and extremes of weather. So we wouldn't take a GMO seed or a seed from Mexico or Hawaii and try to plant it in our farms in Nigeria. It doesn't make sense to us!
Our farms are run very low tech. Low tech has its benefits and fallbacks. We can't pump out as much papaya seeds and leaves with these practices because everything is hand harvested. However, there are fewer pollutants, less processing, and no need for the use of chemicals in the farming process.
There are very few Organic, non-GMO, heirloom farms for papaya and for that reason we are very unique and different. As we grow so will our farms and land but in the meantime, we feel like growing slow is okay, it allows us to feel connected to the land and the community that helps us grow the papaya with heirloom seeds.
Our farming practices are special to us and we feel blessed to be part of such a wonderful community. Heirloom seeds and heirloom farming are more than a practice, it's a way of life that is sustained.
Here is a great article on Heirloom Agriculture: http://www.sustainabletable.org/1383/heritage-animal-breeds-and-heirloom-crop-varieties.
Jessica Oren is a certified Birth Doula (CBI) and a Family Herbalist ~ graduate of The School of Natural Healing. You can find her on Google+