NORWAY – A variety of vegetable, herb and flower seeds were available for exchange Tuesday as a way of keeping different food varieties alive.

Moose Pond Arts and Ecology held the seed swap at the Fare Share Commons. Scott Vlaun, co-founder of the organization, said a swap was held two years ago and he plans to hold them every year.

“I’d like to see us get a real seed movement going here,” Vlaun said. “I think part of a local food economy is a local seed economy.”

Seeds were available from Seeds of Change Organic Seeds, Vlaun’s garden in Otisfield and from other people who attended the event.

Vlaun said the movement aims to preserve a variety of seed types. He said larger seed companies are consolidating the types of seeds available to popular varieties.

“Right now, five companies control about 75 percent of the varieties out there,” he said.

He said a lack of genetic diversity in seeds makes crops more vulnerable because genetic similarities will be susceptible to the same kind of diseases.

In a local movement, a seed swap allows people to exchange seeds without having to produce several different types on their own, Vlaun said. The swap would also help local gardeners save money.

Katey Branch of Paris said she grew several varieties of crops at her home last year to see how many could be brought over to the next year. Her seed offerings at the swap included lettuce, cilantro and kale.

“You never know when the seed market may dry up,” she said.


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