The purpose of The Kusa Seed Research Foundation and The Kusa Seed Society (established 1980) is: to be a voice for the precious edible seeds of the earth.
The Kusa Seed Research Foundation is a not-for-profit scientific and educational organization chartered under United States tax laws as a 501(c)(3) public charity. The Kusa Seed Society, managed and operated by the Foundation, is the interactive, public face of the seedwork.
The task of The Kusa Seed Society is to make available for immediate distribution, benefits having to do with humanity’s ancient relationship with the seeds.
The task of The Kusa Seed Research Foundation is to carry-out the managerial and administrative aspects of the seedwork, and to be a “think tank,” developing educational services in the topical area of human nutrition and grains. The Foundation concerns itself with seedstock regeneration and conservation, publishing for public consumption, and long-range planning and development, working to insure the future of the seedwork, in order that a steady flow of distributed public benefits may be maintained.
The Kusa Seed organization has operated continuously since 1980, regenerating rare seed, carrying-on public education work in the form of public lectures and color-slide presentations, and distributing seed and literature in accord with its mission. Lectures and color-slide presentations have been delivered to audiences numbering in the hundreds, and thousands of packets of rare seeds have been distributed to the public.
To serve its assignment, The Kusa Seed organization has pursued research studies exploring ancient cultures, traditional farming practices, and the folklife, folkways, and rural cuisine of edible seedcrops worldwide. The Kusa Seed organization strives to be a resource of expertise on the role and function of cereal grains as culture and cuisine elements. In the view of the Kusa Seed organization, the seeds and grains of its mission are among the earth’s most valuable heirlooms and their preservation is of primal significance. The Kusa Seed organization’s research studies have employed scholarly investigatory techniques to explore the food-arts and nutritional merits associated with humanity’s ancient cereal-grains, grain-legumes, and other edible seedcrops. Study intensives have included the topics of modern nutritional values and traditional healing and medicinal principles associated with the edible seedcrops, and the ecological farming methods for producing the crops.
The word “kusa” is a word from the ancient Sanskrit language. In the fullness of time, the word came to be used in India as a name for a storied, ceremonial sacred grass: the kusa grass. Behind the legendary kusa grass lies one of humanity’s great myths. The legend of a “sacred grass” rises out of the mists of time at the beginning of history in the ancient East.
Just as a human mother nourishes her offspring, humanity at the beginning of history perceived a “great vegetal mother” whose green plants made human life possible through nourishment.
Humanity’s ancient legend of a special “sacred grass” (the kusa grass), pays tribute at its root to this concept of a great vegetal mother whose botanic bounty sustains all life on earth.
The cereal grains are humanity’s most important, renewable, human food resource. As such, they have rightly been called “culture elements” (pillars of civilization). Because of their life-or-death importance, the cereal grasses have been from time immemorial respected as “sacred grasses” by many peoples around the world.
Because its purpose is to reawaken and foster a modern appreciation of the precious value of the ancient, biodiverse edible seedcrops, at the time of this organization’s founding, the ancient Sanskrit word kusa was employed to form the organization’s name. This christening was made as a gesture of botanical respect focused on the grain-producing cereal grasses of the earth.
The Kusa Seed organization’s concerns include the question of seed ownership. As others have pointed out, for 10,000 years the owner has been the one who grew the seed. Humanity’s industrial revolution has produced an agriculture which seeks a reversal of that ancient paradigm.
Industrial-strength agriculture minimizes the different kinds of seeds and the total number of farmers. Local seeds disappear, replaced by highly-fixed, genetically uniform varieties. Sterile hybrids, genetically-modified-organisms and private intellectual property rights controlling the ownership of seed are some of the products of industrialized agriculture — a social movement to commodify nature and reshape landscapes, diets and lives according to criteria, standards and laws which ignore and abuse the commonality of humanity and the common good.
As a new millennium opens, the word “holistic” is well-established in the English lexicon. Increasingly, members of the public worldwide, appreciate and ask for, access to the benefits which derive from approaching a given subject-matter in an all-inclusive manner. Such an approach strives to consider the unity of all the dependent elements of a topic. The biodiversity of earth’s edible seedcrops is broad and wide. The plants hold numerous specialized traits for agroecologic performance (climates, soils) and the grains hold a vast array of traits for culinary, medicinal, and nutritional utilization. Over time, a vast corpus of folk-knowledge and folk-wisdom has been established by humanity as the lore of these crops. It is that corpus as well as the seeds themselves, which are the chosen focus of the Kusa Seed organization.
In the view of the Kusa Seed organization, great practical treasures reside in the depths of the folk-philosophy and folk-wisdom inextricably linked with the edible seedcrops. There are compelling modern reasons to study closely and to value the cerealian mini-farming and food traditions dating from the ancient past. There are practical reasons to explore the ancestry of these human food nutritional substances. The cereal crops produce grain which has deep harmonic resonance with humanity’s cellular biochemical nutritional structure. For nearly 30 years the Kusa Seed organization has maintained its operating policy to study and consider the edible-seedcrops from a “whole-crop” approach. In keeping with its mission, the organization has disseminated findings useful to utilizing the edible seedcrops as nutritious staple foods. In the view of the Kusa Seed organization, the techniques and arts of small-scale production of the edible seeds and grains — including their post-production storage and safekeeping — comprise a valuable body of human knowledge. In summary, the focus of the Kusa Seed organization is on edible seedcrops as human food nutritional substances in the context of small-scale processes. The Kusa Seed organization has intentionally specialized in seedcrops of folk-origin (non-hybridized folk-cereals) whose grain can be used as staple food and whose fruits can also be saved as seed. In the view of the Kusa Seed organization, these grains are the seeds for a healthy, sustainable, human future.
About The Feminine Element in
Seedcraft and Agriculture
Another topic of abiding interest to the Kusa Seed organization is that of the place of woman in cerealian seed agriculture. What is her place? In industrial agriculture, man has pushed woman back, out of the picture. Why? Was she not first, originally? In its work, the Kusa Seed organization has chosen to look closely at and explore, this topical question. Woman has so much to give and contribute to cerealian mini-farming. In modern times, we have oppressed her spirit and voice so much in industrialized farming and seed production. The Kusa Seed organization believes we should let woman’s voice be heard, and that feminine hands and touch should be restored to seed. What would edible seedcrops be like if women nurtured the process, instead of men exclusively dominating?
Reading materials providing information about seeds are probably the next most valuable thing after the seeds themselves. Print materials have the ability to travel far and wide with a certain amount of durability.
The Kusa Seed organization has at hand an important opportunity to publish a unique handbook on the “lost art” of appreciating and utilizing the spirituality and beauty of grain. The handbook manuscript is completed and ready for publication.
Financial sponsorship to undertake this publishing project is invited. A grant of naming rights will insure prominent display of the sponsor’s name at the front of the publication. Commemorative or memorial names can be chosen, or the donor’s own name can be used.
In performing its mission to serve the public with seed and information about edible seedcrops, The Kusa Seed Research Foundation gives a high ranking to the task of making available useful educational publications.
Publications require expenditures to produce and print. To meet these costs, raising funds is essential. Publication sponsorship is a valuable and enduring way of energizing the quality of Kusa Seed’s outreach. A special naming-right opportunity is available for this “lost arts” Handbook publication project. A grant of naming rights insures that the sponsor’s name will be prominently and tastefully printed at the front of the publication (preceding or following the title page), crediting the patron who made publication possible. Names can be commemorative or memorial (i.e., dedicated to others: “An Edith and Edward Jones Edition”), or the donor’s own name/s can be used (“A Joan and John Smith Book”).
What grain amounts to spiritually, was deeply understood in the past. Today however, we have lost that understanding. The link between human spirituality and grain’s inner-beauty has become blocked from view in modern times. Consequently, the knowledge and understanding of the inner-beauty of grain has become something which is properly categorized today as a “lost art.”
So today, to understand — to comprehend grain in a deep way — to recover this beauty knowledge, it’s beneficial for us to visit the past to seek and consult teachings stored there. Visiting the past is not an onerous requirement, it’s simply a choice.
The Kusa Seed organization stands at the threshold of a grand opportunity to take a large step forward in fulfilling its public-benefit educational mission. The organization has at-hand a completed, three-volume Handbook detailing the “lost art” of appreciating and utilizing grain. The handbook is complete in manuscript form at the present time.
This literary-work, footnoted to the world literature-base, is the product of 35 years of painstaking scholarly research, discovery, and assembly. Written in everyday language for the general public, the three individual volumes are richly illustrated with photographs and line-drawings.
The first volume of the Handbook is a history of grains and humanity’s relationship thereto. Included is the history of porridge and also a crop-biography; the life-story of one of the cerealian founder-crops of agriculture. Volume One includes an explanation of the ancient myth of the sacred kusa grass, including material never brought to print before. Volume Two of the Handbook is a complete and detailed agronomic manual covering the small-scale production of edible seedcrops. Each step and every practical detail is explained and illustrated, from sowing to post-harvest storage. The manual features a complete ecological approach, completely free of the use of any synthetic input chemicals. Volume Three of the Handbook is an atlas mapping out the lost arts of delicious grain cuisine, a treasure trove of culinary recipes; cerealian cuisine completely free of meat, dairy, and sugar.
“The Seed Sanctuary Project” is the name the Kusa Seed organization uses to refer to its quest for a headquarters property. The Sanctuary is conceived as a protected natural property which offers a site for seed regeneration and a facility for showcasing and teaching the practical arts of the seedcraft of edible seedcrops.
From its side, the Kusa Seed organization has available its extensive archives of rare seed and pertinent literature and its administrative and educational background and experience. To achieve its Seed Sanctuary goals, the Kusa Seed organization is actively seeking a partnership entity interested and able to host a scientific and educational organization in a conducive setting.
In addition to its seedstocks, literature, teaching capacity, and administrative abilities, the Kusa Seed organization can provide a partner with land-management expertise. Kusa Seed has the ability to provide an extensive suite of professional-level property-management skills, backed-up by years of on-the-ground experience. The Kusa Seed organization offers a ready-made, off-the-shelf, turn-key, complete package of expertise and seed for ancient cereal grains and their utilization as resources for modern human nutrition.
Seed Sanctuary Summary
In the near term, The Kusa Seed Society is searching for a secure land situation for seed propagation. A small area of land (for micro-scale mini-farming activity) will be sufficient. A candidate site would include residential housing (for the Society’s director) and tool-storage features. The Society has on-hand extensive stocks of rare and endangered heirloom grains for regeneration; the land-based production of the seeds of these cereal grasses can provide tax or aesthetic benefits to a property owner. The Society also has available an extensive suite of professional-level property-management skills, backed up by years of practical experience. These skills are available to a property-owner as part of a swap or exchange-arrangement for land-use privileges. The site should be removed from vehicular traffic and industrial influences; a natural property where the detailed work of regenerating rare seedlines can be carried-out under protected conditions. Persons with information on candidate land-sites should please contact Lorenz K. Schaller, the executive director of The Kusa Seed Society via the Society’s e-mail address.
A sample News-Release detailing our Seed Sanctuary Project is directly below.
Sample News-Release Detailing the
Seed Sanctuary Project
News Release, For Immediate Release
Ojai, California, 30 September 2002. The Kusa Seed Research Foundation is pleased to announce its launch of “Support for the Seed,” a major capital campaign. The goal of the campaign is to establish an endowment fund to support the organization’s long-term work.
The Kusa Seed Research Foundation is a nonprofit public-service organization whose mission is focused on education and conservation work involving heirloom varieties of edible seedcrops. The organization was established in Ojai in 1980 and has actively been regenerating rare seed and carrying-on educational work since its founding.
To propagate its seedstocks, the organization practices ecological minifarming. During numerous seasons, the organization has successfully grown and harvested a wide variety of heirloom seedcrops using natural methods. The organization does not use any synthetic chemical fertilizers, pesticides, or seed treatments. The organization maintains an international focus and distributes seed and literature to the public.
Since its founding, the Kusa Seed organization has functioned as a scholarly think-tank concerned with examining and interpreting the early origins and contemporary practice of agriculture. The organization has developed a specialized, holistic understanding of how the global cereal-grain natural-resource functions as a living “culture element.” That function has structural (physical) and spiritual aspects. According to the Kusa Seed organization’s discoveries, the element functions as a timeless continuum; it reaches back into the past while also stretching forward to embrace the future.
“Human civilization arose from the spark carried in the edible seedcrops and that spark continues to be the critical element sustaining global civilization today,” explained the organization’s founder, Lorenz K. Schaller. “The Kusa Seed organization strives to develop and dispense its specialized understanding of this powerful spark.” Using a modern educational format, the organization provides the public with explanations which detail the multiple functions of the edible seedcrops, Schaller explained. The organization’s explanatory and educative work emphasizes the modern nutritional and culinary aspects of the crops; the significance of edible seedcrops as global ecologic-environmental substances; and the capacity innate in the crops to trigger fundamental human transformation, the organization’s founder explained.
The Kusa organization is also concerned with the issue of public ownership of seed resources. “These seeds [those held in the organization’s archives] are the biological equivalent of public-owned, non-proprietary, ‘open-source’ software,” explained Schaller. “Our organization is also very concerned with woman’s role in the edible seedcrop process,” said Schaller. According to the studies undertaken by the Kusa Seed organization, the historically-recent conversion of edible seedcrops into “commodities” (industrial substances) is a distortion of the historical character of these crops. In the modern industrial era, according to Schaller, men have occupied seedcraft, overwhelming it with a masculine emphasis on machines and with a business and commerce worldview.
The primary philosophic goal of the Kusa Seed organization, explained Schaller, is to give voice to an alternative perspective on these crops. A voice that is feminine-integrative and focused on the crops’ essential and timeless relationship with humanity.
Using publications, lectures, and other educational vehicles, the Kusa Seed organization aspires to be a voice reminding the public about the importance of the restoration of the human feminine element to the seed.
The organization maintains an elaborate series of climate-controlled seed archives. In the archives, precious, irreplaceable seedstocks are stored at glacial temperatures. Each archive is watched-over continuously around-the-clock, by fail-safe computer-circuited temperature-monitor alarm systems. The seed archives, containing thousands of individual samples of rare and endangered grains, covering dozens of species, are dedicated exclusively to humanity’s worldwide edible seedcrops.
In complement to the seed archives, the organization has developed expertise in laboratory-scale germination-testing of seed to assay and gauge viability. The organization has also assembled a unique document collection covering every conceivable detail of the biodiverse crops, ranging from the agronomic aspects through to nutritional assays and culinary recipe work-ups. The documents range from field-production treatises covering successful seed-production, to one-of-a-kind recipes spanning all the different ways that the grains can be utilized as food. The documentation time-period reaches from the dawn of history—the era of cuneiform tablets—to today’s electronic ‘information age’.
The primary immediate goal of The Kusa Seed Research Foundation’s endowment fund, is to allow the organization to establish and operate its long-awaited “Seed Sanctuary.” The Sanctuary property is specially dedicated as a “Seed Learning Center”; a place where hands-on crop propagation, seed-archiving, and teaching activities can be combined together in one place. Protection for the Seed Sanctuary includes a rigorous GMO (genetically modified organisms) exclusion strategy. The strategy, based on established scientific protocols, is designed to safeguard the heirloom crops from any molecular biologic GMO contamination. A zero-tolerance-level for GMO contaminants has been set for the Sanctuary. The Sanctuary also excludes the presence of any petro-distillate-energized vehicles or machinery.
“More and more young people in the industrialized democracies are attracted by the value-system of engaging these timeless crops in daily life on a small-scale,” said Schaller. “Our goal is to have our organization endowment-supported, with our Sanctuary doors open to students, by the time of our 25th organizational anniversary in 2005,” Schaller explained. “We believe we have demonstrated strong organizational consistency-of-purpose during the past 20 years. Our track record is solid and verifiable. At this time we invite the public to join with us as together we establish a firm financial footing for the future of this precious seedwork. We warmly invite public participation in the ‘Support for the Seed’ campaign.”
The campaign kicks off on Saturday, October 5th, with a gourmet grain-and-vegetable feast, followed by a screening of the rare and acclaimed color-image presentation, “Grains of the Planet.” Twenty years in the making, the presentation tells the important story of the planet’s biodiverse edible seedcrops. Using a sequence of more than 400 narrated color-images, the presentation pictorially conveys the heart and soul of international cerealian mini-farming. The musical score for the screening will be performed live by Russ Baggerly (‘El Chato’), an accomplished flamenco guitarist who lived in Spain and studied the flamenco music traditions with the Spanish gypsies. The public is invited to attend this extraordinary event. Tickets for this one-of-a-kind event are available in advance at $15 per person. Tickets may be purchased in advance at The Farmer and the Cook in Ojai, or by mail from The Kusa Seed Research Foundation. A limited number of scholarships for the evening are available for the asking.
Color-Slide Presentation: “Grains of the Planet”
20 years in the making, Grains of the Planet is a pictorial tapestry woven from the threads of more than 400 international photo-images. Each individual photographic thread is a multi-colored extravaganza. Professionally photographed and superbly edited, this color-slide presentation is both an outstanding, museum-quality cohesive work of art and a superb educational tool. Audiences consistently report that a screening of this visual event is a “once in a lifetime experience.” Grains of the Planet is one of the most beautiful botanically-themed color-slide presentations ever assembled; an educational-event not easily forgotten.
A “visual feast” of colorful beauty, the slideshow pictorially displays the story of humanity’s most important worldwide staple food: the grains of the cereal grasses and other edible seedcrops.
Scenes of sowing, transplanting, weeding, harvesting, threshing, transporting, dehusking and utilization unfold as viewers take a close-up look at humanity’s most important renewable global food resource… the world’s edible seedcrops. Woven through Grains of the Planet are highly informative visual threads describing the new “ancient grains” now appearing on breakfast, lunch, and dinner menus of health-conscious homes and restaurants in Australia, Canada, Europe and the United States. Rare photo-images of amaranth, the colorful grain of the ancient Aztec civilization, illuminate the screen. Viewers are also treated to field images of quinoa, the “super grain” of the high-altitude Himalaya and South American Andes, and colorful images of t’ef, Ethiopia’s delicious cereal-staple. Nutritionally-powerful grains now showing up on health menus across the planet… Kamut, Spelt, and Farro… are also visually presented. Geographically, the imagery is wide-ranging. Photographic color-slides of spectacular beauty from remote agricultural villages and fields parade brilliantly across the screen. Included in the presentation are images taken deep in the fastnesses of the Himalayan mountain chain of Asia; in rugged Ladakh; in Baltistan; in the Kingdom of Bhutan and on “the roof of the world”; the Tibetan plateau. Also included are images from rural Korea, Turkey, India, and other lands, all depicting the story of humanity’s most important world-wide staple food; the global mini-farming and utilization of the grains of the cereal grasses.
Past presentations include screenings at the San Diego Natural History Museum (San Diego, California); Fall Health Classic (Palm Springs, California); Fall Health Classic (San Diego, California); Community Environmental Council/Santa Barbara Herb Circle (Santa Barbara, California); American Association of Wine and Food (Amestoy House, Ojai, California); Earth-Save Los Angeles (Santa-Monica, California); Ecology Action (Menlo Park, California); Ecology Action (Willits, California); George Ohsawa Macrobiotic Foundation, Summer Camp (French Meadows, California); George Ohsawa Macrobiotic Foundation (Oroville, California); Three Creeks Macrobiotic Summer Camp (East-West Foundation, Eureka, California).
The color-slide presentation is narrated in-person by Lorenz K. Schaller, an expert on the worldwide nutritional and culinary properties of cereal grains. Schaller is also the founder of The Kusa Seed Society and The Kusa Seed Research Foundation.
“A pageant of places, people, and plants — extraordinary!”
“An immersion into the collective soul of global agri-culture at the folk-level — unforgettable!”
“A botanical extravaganza — a flowing river of color and light. One of the best slide screenings I’ve ever seen!”
“Deeply touching. Lifts one up and away from the small-self, carrying one into contact with the glowing, humming, matrix of global seed.”
Color slide screenings are of interest to the following audiences
Persons interested in personal health and well-being; human nutrition. Grain personnel; millers; agronomists (including policy planners and decision makers); cereal chemists; seed specialists; persons interested in traditional cultures; persons interested in sustainable gardening and farming. Other keywords: food ethnology; food history; eco-philosophy.
The following titles are a sampling of lecture topics delivered to past audiences:
“The Human and Planetary Significance of Cereal Grains”
“Preserving Seed Diversity”
“Genetic Engineering of Seeds”
“Plants and the Human Potential: Findings at the World Trade Center, NYC.”
Each event is a custom program of tailored content and length.
To inquire about booking a slideshow or lecture, write or e-mail The Kusa Society, “Attention, Public Speaking Bureau.”
Join a collaborative network of people working to advance the knowledge and understanding of ancient cereal grains and other edible seedcrops for modern nutrition. The Kusa Seed Society presently has available the following volunteer opportunities.
In-line with its public-service mission, the Kusa Seed organization plans to operate an on-line Forum. At the Forum, questioners can post their queries (see samples below) and persons with answers can respond. The questions-and-answers will be stored in a searchable archive open to the public, sorted under pertinent subject-headings.
How do I dehusk rice (millet/spelt/emmer wheat, etc. etc.) for table-use? How can I tell if the wheat seed I have is spring growth-habit or winter growth-habit? Are seed flax and fiber flax the same, or are they different plant types? What is “sweet” buckwheat (sesame)? What is “bitter” buckwheat (sesame)? The preceding queries are just a few of the many questions that naturally arise from the topic of edible seedcrops.
At the present time, The Kusa Seed Society has a position open for a Forum Manager. The manager will serve as the moderator and manager of the on-line Forum. This position requires computer-literacy sufficient to manage the Forum but does not require any background in seeds, grains, or botany. This is a voluntary position without monetary compensation, featuring electronic-based commuting. The Kusa Seed Society welcomes application from any interested person.
Please send us an email.
Join a collaborative network of people working to advance the knowledge and understanding of ancient cereal grains and other edible seedcrops for modern nutrition. The Kusa Seed Society presently has a position open for Public Relations Department Head.
The Public Relations Department manager will field incoming inquiries addressed to The Kusa Seed Society, responding to those which lie outside the coverage of our FAQ list or Forum subject-area. This position requires basic computer literacy and decorum and courtesy abilities. The position does not require any research skills, nor any background in seeds, grains, or botany. Any training and backstopping will be furnished.
This is a voluntary position without monetary compensation, featuring electronic-based commuting. The Kusa Seed Society welcomes application from any interested person.
Please send us an email.
Join a collaborative network of people working to advance the knowledge and understanding of ancient cereal grains and other edible seedcrops for modern nutrition. The Kusa Seed Society presently has a position open for a Financial Professional
Financial support is the critical factor enabling all the work of the Kusa Seed organization, including the very life of the precious seeds themselves. The Kusa Seed Research Foundation has a 27-year track-record as a nonprofit organization. The Foundation is registered with the United States tax authorities (IRS) as a 501 (c) (3) educational and scientific organization, with the ability to receive charitable grants, donations, and gifts to support its work. Such monies are the Foundation’s sole source of significant financial support.
The person filling our Financial Professional position should be an individual with personal contacts sufficient to raise support funds and grow the Kusa Seed organization’s operating budget and endowment fund. The Financial Professional will interact directly with the Kusa Seed organization’s executive director.
This is a voluntary position without monetary compensation, featuring electronic-based commuting. The Kusa Seed Society welcomes application from any interested person.
Please send us an email.
The Kusa Seed Research Foundation has a 27-year track-record as a nonprofit organization. The Foundation is registered with the United States tax authorities (IRS) as a 501 (c) (3) educational and scientific organization, with the ability to receive charitable grants, donations, and gifts to support its work. Such monies are the Foundation’s sole source of significant financial support. Please ask for a copy of our "Letter from the Director." The Letter explains how to help with support.
In order to successfully receive support money, personal introductions and personal contacts are required. A personal introduction to a grant-making foundation person, a private benefactor, or an individual active in the legal or financial professions, can make all the difference to securing Kusa Seed’s work. If you can help coordinate donor-contact, please contact the executive director of The Kusa Seed Research Foundation, Mr. Lorenz K. Schaller.
Making a donation to the Kusa Seed organization can be accomplished very simply by mailing your check or other securities instruments to:
The Kusa Seed Research Foundation
P.O. Box 761
Ojai, CA 93024 USA
Simply include a note stating “donation.” A receipt will be mailed promptly.
To include the Kusa Seed organization in your will or living trust, use the following sample language:
“I give, devise, and bequeath to The Kusa Seed Research Foundation, a nonprofit California public-benefit corporation with business address of Post Office Box 761, Ojai, California 93024, the sum of ______ dollars [or otherwise describe the gift or assets] for its general purposes and use at the discretion of The Kusa Seed Research Foundation’s Board of Directors.”
Endowment Fund Campaign
The Kusa Seed organization has mounted an endowment campaign entitled “Support for the Seed.” For a description of the “Support for the Seed” endowment campaign, please see the publication A Church of Grain in the Kusa Seed and Literature Catalog.
Why the emphasis on cereal-grain crops - aren’t those animal feeds?
Perceiving grains as only animal feeds is a distorted, misinformed view which ignores history and modern dietetic knowledge and health-wisdom. Grains remain today as they have been for more than 10,000 years, one of the important keys to healthy human well-being. In the modern industrial era the world is undergoing dramatic shifts in its dietary habits. The modern shift includes an increasing heavy emphasis on animal-food products. To produce those products, grains are used as feedstuffs. Throughout most of history however, grain has not been extensively used as a feed for slaughter animals, but instead has been recognized as a premium human food. Despite the modern changes in social patterns, our human cellular biochemistry has not changed. Grains remain a precious, health-positive, nourishing human food.
What about diseases?
Plants and people are very similar. Both are vulnerable to a large number of disease agents. The Kusa Seed organization monitors its seed grow-outs very carefully to ensure plant health. Only healthy seed is saved with all seed cleaned very carefully after harvest following established protocols. Ergot is a globally distributed fungal-disease which can afflict maturing grain with serious human health consequences (ergot has never been observed in any Kusa Seed organization seed-production activity to-date). The ergot fungus invades the maturing kernels which acquire a purplish-black appearance and may swell in size. Ergot infested grain heads should be carefully incinerated (destroyed at high temperature). In the United States, unusual weeds, insects, or diseases should be reported to your county farm advisors’ office or to the County Agricultural Commissioners Office. The United States has a federally-supported Animal & Plant Disease & Pest Surveillance & Detection Network. Each state has access to a designated diagnostic laboratory. The National Plant Diagnostic Network collaborates with the Homeland Security department and the USDA-ARS Cereal Disease Laboratory. Within the United States, contact the above entities with any plant-health questions or concerns. Another informed and involved entity in the United States is the National Seed Health System.
Outside the United States, there are many knowledgeable plant pathology entities including the International Seed Testing Association (ISTA); the International Society of Seed Technologists (ISST); and the Society of Commercial Seed Technologists.
Why place so much emphasis on antique, out-of-date grains? How can such old things be of any modern use? How can they possibly be as valuable as you claim? What is the reality here?There are several paths open in responding to the above. The words of Dr. Boris Worm of Dalhousie University in Nova Scotia, open just one of the paths: “Now that we are reaching a global limit, people are asking how can we fix the problem, and they are rediscovering that the old methods really work. It’s very significant.” Direct experience derived from the work performed to-date has convinced the Kusa Seed organization that useful, unknown agronomic traits and significant and beneficial human nutritional properties are resident in these ancient grain stocks. The stocks are an immensely valuable reservoir whose utilitarian properties cry out for rediscovery and cataloguing by humanity. Please join us in this trail-blazing work! Together we can make a difference!