I would rate the protection of our seed heritage right up there with breathing. Well, certainly right up there with eating, which is almost as important. The way the exchange puts it, "with the growth of hybrid seeds in the last century, much of the world’s connection to saving seeds from their own garden has crumbled. This results in a separation between our food, our gardens, and the seeds from which they spring."
As homesteaders and householders we absolutely have to be able to access open pollinated and heirloom seed so that at anytime necessary or practicable we can save our own seed, and it's not only important for the sake of thrift but also in terms of developing our own landraces. Tomatoes come to mind as the most adaptable seed you can stick in your garden- once you find something you like, tomato plants from seed saved from year to year only become more acclimatized to your garden and do better every year.
I'll be honest- I have only made small forays into seed saving, but I still grow only heirloom and open pollinated seed on the off chance that someday I'll actually need to save my seed. But in the meantime, I've been a member of the Seed Savers Exchange for several years now, mostly because I think what they do is incredibly important, to everyone. So important that I would still be a member even if I didn't grow a garden. In fact, it's been a couple of seasons since I last ordered seed from them, but continue my membership I will. The other cool thing about membership is that if you're looking for something obscure, chances are somebody somewhere is growing it and you can find it in the Yearbook. That's how I found my German Queen tomato a few years ago; I obtained them from a gardener in Wisconsin. He kindly threw in a few seeds from another strain of tomato as a gift.
April is membership month for the Seed Savers Exchange, and memberships start at $40 a year- $30 if you're a senior or student. If you're in the fight to grow your own food, you owe it to yourself and everyone who comes behind you to help the Seed Savers Exchange with their work.
Memberships can be obtained here.