The ancestral seed, also known as local seed or native seed, is the natural seed that our ancestors used in the past and remained as it was years ago without any treatment.
The seeds of vegetables and fruits obtained from these seeds, which have been used in Anatolia for centuries and have never been genetically modified, are taken and propagated for the planting of the next season. Thanks to this cycle, the ancestral seed maintains its existence and can reach future generations intact.
Characteristics of the Ancestor Seed
Ancestor seed is a seed that has not been genetically modified. For this reason, DNA sequence is natural. They are fertile, continuous and sustainable seeds. Thanks to these properties, they can be passed down from generation to generation.
The original state of the ancestor seed can be preserved. These seeds are seeds that have been grown in the same way for centuries, under conditions suitable for the climate of our country. The ancestor seed is planted, grown, and when the maturity period comes, some of the plants are separated to take seeds for use in the next year. This cycle has been going on for thousands of years.
Since each region of our country has its own geographical and climatic characteristics, the areas where the ancestral seed grows also differ. For example, summer fruits are mostly grown in the Aegean and Mediterranean regions, which are in our hot regions, in summer and under natural conditions.
The common feature of all fruits and vegetables, which are ancestor seeds, is that they should be grown and consumed in season. In other words, it is not possible to eat a tomato with ancestral seed in winter.
Plants produced with ancestor seed are very rich in vitamins and minerals. You can easily feel the difference when you eat vegetables or fruits, which are ancestor seed, thanks to its flavor.
It is not possible to store local seeds, ie ancestral seeds, in the fridge for a long time. Since there are no hormones or protective chemicals in their structure, they can deteriorate in a short time.
What is the Difference between Ancestor Seed and Hybrid Seed?
Hybrid seed, one of the seed varieties, is legally produced in our country. Although most people think of GMO seeds when it comes to hybrid seed, in fact, hybrid seed does not contain GMO, it is defined as hybridized or mixed seed. To obtain hybrid seeds; two plants of the same species are crossed.
- For ancestral seeds to grow, it is essential that the weather conditions are suitable, but there is no such requirement for hybrid seeds.
- In ancestor seed, the region where the product is grown is very important. Because the product develops in the suitable geography and soil and yield is obtained from this product. However, hybrid seed can be grown in any region.
- Hybrid seeds are not as harmful as GMO seeds as they are obtained by crossing mother and father seeds. However, they do not contain beneficial minerals and proteins such as ancestor seed.
- The ancestor seed is a permanent seed and the seed can be separated from the obtained product for the following year. Hybrid seed is not like that. This single-use seed means the need for new seeds every year for the producer.
- The hybrid seed is for single use only but not sterile. If you only reserve seeds for second use, the product from that seed will not be exactly the same as the first crops. The reason for this is that the seed can only carry the characteristics of the mother or father seed.
The producer does not want to take such a risk and continues to buy seeds every year to maintain its quality in production.
Ancestor Seed Project
Within the scope of the Ancestor Seed Project, which was initiated in 2017 in order to protect the products grown in Anatolian soil and transfer them to future generations, studies on ancestor seed have been started.
In order to support the project, people who have ancestral seeds in our country also donated their seeds. Whether these seeds are original and whether they can be used in the project are examined by experts in research institutes affiliated to the General Directorate of Agricultural Research and Policies (TAGEM), and the appropriate seeds are reproduced and delivered to the producers.
In order to secure and protect the ancestral seeds produced within the scope of the project, the Regulation on the Registration, Production and Marketing of Local Varieties was published in the Official Gazette and entered into force. According to the regulation, the ancestral seed varieties that were registered in the name of the person who owned the ancestral seed in the past are now registered in the name of the state and the reproduction process continues under the control of the state.
Products Obtained by Ancestor Seed Production
With the Ancestor Seed Project, it is aimed to revive natural production in every region of our country. Among these products, there are special types such as the chili pepper of Kandıra, the village cucumber of Samsun or the white dwarf tomato of Ayaş.
Broad beans, lentils, potatoes, kidney beans, black-eyed peas, spinach, black cumin, beet, fennel, soy, zaprana grass, oats, corn, wheat, barley, pea, rye, watermelon, melon, eggplant, cress, radish, turnip. Efforts are also underway to produce vegetables and fruits from ancestral seed.