Whatever walk of life you come from, generally it is safe to say that smoking 'The Wisdom Herb' is a turning point in our lives. A time when we were more in tune to nature and having the zeal to live life as uncomplicated as possible - in peace and in unity. If, like some of us, you grew up in the 70's and 80's in Europe it was a lot different to how it is now. Everything was imported or, if not, it was very green "home grown" that generally tasted of grass...the cow 'n' goat eating variety that is! Depending on what country you grew up in or whether you lived in the sticks or the city would determine what imports were available. In the UK, most of the country was served with Hash mainly from North Africa and Asia. Good quality hash was hard to find as a lot of impurities were mixed into the commercial slabs available. There was certainly quality Charas and 00 coming in, but these were few and far between as well as being usually saved for the connoisseurs in town.
Ganja was a welcome break but usually only found in the bigger cities where, with a good contact, you could get some Sensi from Jamaica or Thai sticks, we also had an annual visit of Durban Poison which was a delicious treat. We appreciated the Ganja as it felt like a much purer way to smoke our Sacred Herb.
"When you smoke the herb it reveals you to yourself." Bob Marley
In the rest of Europe, Hash was also common but came from different countries. In France and Holland there was a regular supply of red and yellow Leb, a high grade hash in a cheese shape Baby Bell of 250g, and 00 from Morocco.
Afghan 200g slab with a gold stamp in Arabic and wrapped in transparent plastic was a welcome treat. The Ganja was generally Congolese, Zairoise and some tasty Columbian from time to time. Skunk started to be “The New Kid on The Block” around the early 80s, some loved it and some were very skeptical of the “electric” growing methods. We have moved at lightning speed from then till now. As with all human progress, some is a lot more progressive than others.
As we write this 5th article for WeedWorld we give much thanks for our journey thus far. At times it has been rocky, there have been times we nearly lost all we had spent years building up…partly due to our naivety and sometimes to the dodgy dealings that controls some of this special work that we do. We are sure that a good thriller could be put together with the stories that many fellow seed lovers go through to keep this work moving forward.
Soa is a Seed Bank with the preservation of African land races at its core. This journey started as we looked back at what used to be available to smoke and what there is now. On our journeys in Africa we saw that Landraces were not as lucrative and our way to help keep theses special genetics alive was to track them down and bring them to you as we find them. There are many places in the vast lands of Africa where commercial hybrid seeds have not penetrated, but caution, knowledge and respect are needed to acquire some of these seeds of ancient wisdom.
As we get deeper into the world of seed collection and preservation we have had to make choices and for now we are staying with regular seeds. We feel that balance is needed, there is a purpose for males and if it is only to teach the next generation the difference in the sexes then it’s a job well done.
We feel there is a strength in the plants of regular seeds, as feminized ones are usually made by using White Widow pollen that seems to be available on mass.
This feels to us to be a watering down of the landrace strains, a lot of herbs have a homogenized look and taste which is not our style. Every man, woman, child, animal and plant has a right to be proud of their origin. There are also a few well established seed banks that do not do feminized seeds and they have good reasons for this.
We are producing heirlooms. As some of our strains are getting harder to acquire, we can’t always return to the same place at the right time to get what we had before. We have also found some amazing phenos that need to be saved and bred. As we learn, sadly too often, that man puts up physical barriers of borders and wars that stop us acquiring landraces that need to be continued. Generally heirlooms are selected for strong regular genetics and have been bred with the European climate in mind. In our view it is important to keep the strain as close to its original so as to preserve nature’s gift of pure Sativas. It has been said that the long lanky plants of the Sativa, with its fluffy, crystal-covered cluster buds are too tall to grow; that the extra flowering time and it’s so called smaller yield is not worth that time.
But we disagree. When the time comes when we can legally grow this gifted plant we will be able to see how the commercialization of this sacred ‘cure-all’ herb has been used and abused.
What is feminization, how does it benefit you and how does it benefit the seed producer? This is one of the big stories that needs a movie or a novel to really get our teeth into, but we not here to ruffle feathers – simply to take you on our journey, to share with you our experiences and do what we can to keep the ‘Oldies and Goodies’ safe for the future generations.
Originally Published in Weed World Magazine 126