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Students revive squash with 800-year-old seeds

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TasunkaWitko View Drop Down
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    Posted: 06 October 2015 at 20:48
Quote Students revive extinct squash with 800-year-old seeds

Seeds found during an archaeological dig on First Nations land revive a long-lost varietal.

By: Robin Shreeves
October 1, 2015


The seed that grew this squash were preserved for 800 years in a clay pot in Wisconsin.

Gardens may be popping up in schools everywhere, but one school garden in Winnipeg, Canada is making news after growing a squash thought to be extinct for hundreds of years.

It all started with an archaeological dig on First Nations land that unearthed a small clay vessel estimated to be about 800 years old. Inside the vessel, the archaeologists found preserved seeds of an ancient squash.

Students at Canadian Mennonite University successfully grew one large squash from the seeds, but they aren't stopping there. The plan is to save the seeds from that first revived squash and then grow even more squash from those. The goal is to never let this squash go extinct again, according to APTN National News.

Brian Etkin, Coordinator of the Garden of Learning in Winnipeg, sees this revived squash as much more than a vegetable.

"This squash is representative of a tribe of a large community and everybody in that community having a place and food being a right on citizenship," said Etkin.

When the seeds were first put into that clay vessel all those years ago, they were likely meant to be used much sooner than now, but the discovery of them is a reminder that saving seeds is the best way to ensure plant varietals survive. The fruits and vegetables seen in the grocery store and even at the farmers markets are just a fraction of the varieties that exist.

Over the past 100 years or so, we've decreased the variety of produce grown and instead focused our efforts in cultivating species that produce a high yield or are able to travel long distances. But, we're discovering we're close to losing so many varieties, and seed savers are working to bring back varieties that most people have forgotten.

Thanks to the ancient indigenous person who put those seeds in a clay vessel hundreds of years ago, this squash varietal won't be lost to history.
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pitrow View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote pitrow Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 06 October 2015 at 21:14
That is so cool. Thanks for sharing Ron!
Mike
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote drinks Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 06 October 2015 at 22:11
Size, weight, genus and specie, please.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote HistoricFoodie Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 07 October 2015 at 08:11
Nicely, nicely. And there's no doubt that the squash is old, and missing in action. But 800 years? Maybe.

Not that dating was done to the clay pot, not the seeds themselves. So there's a lot more work to be done, yet, before concluding that the seeds and the pot are the same age.

Even so, it's always nice when a thought to be extinct variety is restored.

But we hae meat and we can eat
And sae the Lord be thanket
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