11 March 2009

Maharishi U Joins Seed Save

Fruits and Vegetables at Farmers Market Photo
Image via: Getty Images

Things are in bloom over at Maharishi University, (Iowa) which just recently joined the Seed Savers Exchange. The program is designed "to preserve the genetic legacy of vegetables, herbs, flowers, and fruit trees" and for their part the students at Maharishi University will be growing a colored butterbean and saving the seeds. But, that's not all the school is doing to support agriculture.

The campus hosted the Midwest Real Foods Summit, as part of the Real Food Challenge, with over 100 college students in attendance. The program discusses all manner of agriculture issues, such as "farm workers rights groups, student farmers, local food champions, fair trade campaigners and climate change activists." The program took participants on tours of area sustainable farms, and provided students a fresh, vegetarian meal from what the Maharishi U students eat on campus daily. Students interested in starting fair trade coffee shops on campus, organizing composting and farming projects and other green agricultural pursuits, as well as a career in agriculture attended to learn from each other and support each other.

Not part of the university (related in name only), but also interested in healthy, sustainable food production is the Maharishi Vedic City Community Supported Agriculture, (MVC) which will begin offering local, organic produce on April 15. Food will be harvested the same day and available for just $30 a box or $20 for a slightly-more-than-half box. Both fruits and vegetables will be available, and many will be available for a longer season thanks to the large network of greenhouses at MVC.

The Seed Savers Exchange program is a network of over 690 members that save their seeds and make them available to others, but who are also interested in preserving heirloom varieties of seeds (those that were available before World War II and the entrance of nasty chemicals). The exchange, based in Iowas, was founded in 1975 and today offers over 13,263 varieties of heirloom seeds. The Maharishi University colored butterbean seed is one that dates back over 100 years and has been passed down through the family of one of the faculty members. Over 11 pounds of seeds are now available and local gardeners/farmers can contact the program for more information.

By Kristin Underwood, San Diego, CA
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