Many people don't realize what a valuable resource the Local Harvest forums are. The forums have all kinds of info on food-related issues and opportunities to reach out with new ideas. However, there are always one or two "flaming" idiots who are merely trying to score points. It is really quite cowardly to sit down and vent without actually trying to solve the problem. Some time back, I ran into one of these types who are stuck in the current business model and who was personally offensive in order to cover up his lack of understanding in method and theory. And he even has a Masters in Aerospace Engineering (!), so he should know about proper survey methodology and calculation. As they say, a little knowledge is a bad thing.
Once again, I seem to have gotten sideways with a supposed market gardener who has had difficulty finding viable seeds for a rare cantaloupe. Of course, I am still a closet academic and the idea of buying more seed and trying a larger sample size appeals to me. There are so many variables in seed saving and the impacts start right in the field, even as the plants are growing. Simply expecting every seed, or even every packet of seed, to be in the 80-100% germination range is a false assumption. This really is part of the old business model - that regulation, certification, more regulation, and even more certification will ensure that you can TRUST the product. In reality, there is a very good reason nature is so conservative and produces huge amounts of seed. Not only does surplus seed production increase percentage of viability to maturity, it also increases the genetic and chromosonal shuffling, or recombination, that provides flexibility in a changing environment. As we tumble into the brave new world of the future, we should be saving more of our own seed and acclimating the food we grow to our changing environment. In order to do this, we need to think in new paradigms. I have been ensconced in the probabilistic paradigm for the last 10 years and it helps me quite a bit.