Sowing a culture of seed saving and sharing

Subbarow showing books on seed sharing at the Green Action Week online fair.

A FORM Three student has used butterfly pea flower to give her health drink an intriguing shade of deep blue.

Sharing her tried and tested recipe via Zoom, P. Kirtanah said the drink is beneficial for health as it provides antioxidant support and improves skin health.

Kirtanah showing the process of making the butterfly pea drink via Zoom.Kirtanah showing the process of making the butterfly pea drink via Zoom.

“It is easy to make, as it only needs a few ingredients like honey, lemon juice and butterfly pea flowers.

“Just prepare a cup of hot water, then add three to four flower buds in the cup.

“Wait until the colour gets infused in the cup and remove the petals after that.

“Then add honey or brown sugar, followed by lemon juice before stirring and serving,” said the student of SMK Convent Butterworth, who picked up the recipe from her school’s green community group.

Kirtanah was speaking at the seed sharing session of the virtual Green Action Week online fair on Saturday.

It was organised by the Consumers Association of Penang (CAP) with the theme ‘Sharing Community’.

CAP education officer N.V. Subbarow said the sharing session was held to popularise seed saving and sharing among Malaysian consumers in conjunction with the action week.

The germination process of mung beans being shared during the virtual session.The germination process of mung beans being shared during the virtual session.

He said CAP had been promoting chemical-free farming in the past few decades, having realised there was a high dependency on others for seeds.

“The seeds that we purchase most of the time are chemically tainted seeds.

“We have been encouraging farmers and the public to save their own seeds and share it with their friends and neighbours.

“Seed sharing is a great way to source our plants.

“It not only saves money, as it is also a way to foster biodiversity, connect to our agricultural heritage and learn from other gardeners,” he said.

Subbarow said one of the key advantages to saving seeds was that one could manage his or her own seed resources rather than depend on what big agri-businesses want to sell.

“This allows free exchange of seeds and for everyone to determine their own rules, such as who manages breeding and what traits are important to focus on.

“When one saves seeds from the best plants each year, they are gradually making improvements,” he said.

Subbarow said this meant future seeds would be more adaptive and were able to grow in particular climatic and soil conditions.

Sharing on seed saving, he said some key tips were to always collect seeds from healthy plants and to dry the seeds under room temperature in a well-aired area.

“The seeds must be fully drained after washing and allowed to dry properly.

“If one wants to check whether the seeds still have germinating capacity, they can put the seeds into a container filled with water and let it sit overnight.

“Seeds that have germinating capacity will sink while the spoilt seeds will remain afloat.

“We hope everyone will join us in reviving the culture of freely saving and sharing seed.

“If anyone needs more information on this, they can check out our books with pictorial guide on seed preparation methods,” he added.

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