For as much attention as sustainable agriculture, farm to table and CSA programs and countless other healthy food initiatives are receiving, it’s easy to overlook that to a large degree everything starts with seeds. But as simple as that sounds, access to seeds is anything but simple.

At issue is the growing use of patenting by the three largest, multi-national seed corporations, Monsanto, DePont, and Syngenta, to control seeds. That control is jeopardizing seed species and seed varieties and that is of great concern to plants breeders, smaller seed companies and sustainability advocates. And it should be of concern to all of us who care about access to fresh, healthy food.

This Thursday, members of the Open Source Seed Initiative are holding a rally and seed giveaway with a pledge to keep the seeds available to anyone who wants to use them. It's both an educational event and a call to action. It starts at 11 a.m. on the UW campus at Linden and Babcock drives. It’s an important first step in protecting access and use of the stuff we need to grow what we eat the way we want to grow it.