"Until Recent times all gardeners and farmers were stewards of the plant heritage that sustained us. Over the centuries it was seed saving that enabled people to domesticate wild plants, and this allowed communities to settle." ~ The Seed Savers' Handbook
Seed saving has long been recognized as an important component of ensuring food security and locally productive varieties. Kent Whealy, founder of 'Seed Savers' Exchange', is considered the first 'Westerner' to start a public collection of home-bred garden varieties. Whealy's work, consequently, inspired Michel and Jude Fanton's founding of the 'Australia Seed Savers' Network' in the mid 1980's (as well as vocal support from permaculture co-founder, Bill Mollision, and American naturalist, David Cavagnaro). Regardless, in the coming years of global weirding this long-tenured practice will become even more important as we seek to understand the shifting extremes of our local climates. With the advent of 'doomsday' seed banks, we must recognize that first we must rely on ourselves.
Below is a list of seed-saving resources:
The Seed Savers' Handbook ~ Michel & Jude Fanton (illustrated by Alfredo Bonanno - great pointillated illustrations). A Seed Saver's Book. 1993. 176 pgs.
Breed You Own Vegetable Varieties: The Gardener's and Farmer's Guide to Plant Breeding and Seed Saving ~ Carol Deppe. Chelsea Green Publishing. 1993. 367 pgs.
The Reference Manual of Woody Plant Propagation: From Seed to Tissue Culture. Michael Dirr and Charles Heuser. Varsity Press, Athens, GA. 1987. 239 pgs. (largely considered THE book on this topic.)
Heirloom Vegetable Gardening: A Master Gardener's Guide to Planting, Seed Saving, and Cultural History. William Woys Weaver. Henry Holt and Company.1997. 439 pgs. (Obviously, a large volume that goes into cultural and culinary histories...the anthropologist in all of us should enjoy)
Seed to Seed: Seed Saving and Growing Techniques for Vegetable Gardeners ~ Susan Ashworth. Chelsea Green.