Rebsie Fairholm at Daughter of the Soil has a long post about Association Kokopelli, the French outfit fined for unfair practices because they dared to sell seeds of varieties that their customers actually wanted.1 Rebsie gives some of the history and some of the delights of Association Kokopelli, and suggests various ways in which people can support them. She also raises the spectre of Kokopelli going under again, and of the many varieties they have and make available going extinct.
People who have varieties from Kokopelli can certainly swap them, as suggested. But I’m wondering about a couple of other ideas. First, is there any chance that the Global Seed Vault in Svalbard would accept a black box safety duplicate collection from Kokopelli? Possibly not. But then, what is the extent of duplication between Kokopelli’s list and the list of Seed Savers Exchange. I have no idea. But I do know that SSE’s list is fully computerized, and I would hope that Kokopelli’s is too. First order of business, then, would be to ensure that SSE has all of Kokopelli’s material.
Of course, names are a tad tricky. They always are. Rebsie asks, “Where else but Association Kokopelli can you get Venus’ Nipple tomatoes?”. That depends. Might Venus’ Nipple be the same as Teton de Venus? I doubt it, but you never know. Here in Italy a breast is often una tetta. Not too far from that to Teton. Or is it? Ot it might be plain Venus, which in Europe is available at Vent Marin. And I found that through Tomodori, which seems to aggregate tomato seed offerings from around the web.
One of the beauties of SSE is that seed savers and gardeners can use the autumn catalog to order direct from one another. What makes this possible is the size of the catchment area. The vast majority of SSE members live in the US, and they can use US postage stamps to send out their seeds. That makes life very simple. Europe needs a postal union to make a continent-wide exchange workable. Until then, all we can do is encourage gardeners and seed savers everywhere to swap varieties, keep good records and, in Rebsie’s words:
Sow your heirloom seeds with pride and raise two fingers to the EU seed legislation and the big bloated corporations who feed off it.
P:P:S: Olives and Artichokes, a blog by some transplants from Wales to southwest France, also comments on Kokopelli.
- In some small way I prompted the post, which is nice. [↩]