During the millennia before modern plant breeding began, farmers were moving around with seeds and livestock, and because neither were uniform, they could gradually adapt to different climates, soils and uses. Whenever farmers settled, they continued to improve crops and livestock.
In the case of crops, the way they did it can still be seen today in a number of countries and consists of selecting the best plants, which give the seed to be used for the following season. This process was highly location-specific in the sense that each farmer did it independently from other farmers and for his/her conditions of soil, climate and uses.
The enormous diversity of what we call ancient, old, heirloom varieties originated through this process."
We talked about why saving seeds is important with a strong focus on the seed monopolies by companies such as Monsanto. Also a few basic how-to tips.