NOAA and the National Climatic Data Center has released the information that July 2012 is the warmest month ever recorded in the contiguous United States. EarthSky breaks it down for us here:
Without getting into the debate about climate change and global warming this situation demonstrates that our heirloom seed and plant varieties and the need to propagate, spread, and preserve them are going to be ever more critical for food security.
Heirloom varietals in their great diversity and the suitability of specific types to fit within different micro-climates offer us options that are safe to eat and able to produce seed year after year. In addition, by selecting heirloom plants that do well in a particular area and focusing on the healthiest of those plants for seed saving we allow the continuing development of seeds that evolve to better fit a specific area.
This is a practice that has gone on for thousands of years and has allowed human beings to live in all the various places of the world. Until recently it has been successful without the help of the industrial food system and its negative side effects and has also produced a food heritage rich in genetic diversity and plant species we could grow and eat in the places where we lived.
The bad news is that since the advent of industrialized agricultural practices, including monoculture, we have lost many varieties of food plants. The good news is that more and more people are becoming aware of this and getting involved in saving what we have left!
With more widespread involvement and the spread of information about heirloom plants and seed saving we have the hope of sustaining a source of genetic diversity in our food plants grow and encourage those varieties that can produce, and evolve even when we have extreme climatic conditions.