Seed catalogs for the 2014 growing season are arriving in mailboxes across the Northern Hemisphere with home gardeners everywhere starting to plan which seeds they will sow in their spring gardens.
A positive trend in recent years is the growing number of gardening enthusiasts choosing to plant gardens using organic and/or heirloom seeds.
What most of these home gardeners don’t realize is that corporate behemoth and GMO titan Monsanto has been gobbling up the seed market faster than a caterpillar can munch a tomato plant! With one fell swoop in 2005, Monsanto grabbed approximately 40% of the US vegetable seed market with its acquisition of Seminis.
This means that a home gardener could unknowingly be supporting the development and proliferation of genetically modified crops if the seeds used are from Seminis. In addition, Monsanto now apparently owns the trademark for many of the names of the heirloom seed varieties themselves!
Planting a sustainable home garden is much more than just choosing certified organic seeds and seedlings because Monsanto has cleverly positioned itself to make money off the home gardening trend.
Does this mean that even if you buy organic or heirloom seeds from a completely independent company some of your purchase might be supporting the bad guys?
Yes, it does.
Home gardeners would do well to bone up on where to purchase their seeds so they aren’t inadvertently doing business with companies that maintain a working relationship with Monsanto-Seminis or were acquired by them.
Buying Organic or Heirloom Seeds Without Supporting Monsanto
Here are the recommended steps for the 2014 growing season for those who want to truly strike a blow for sustainability in every way with their home gardens:
- Avoid buying from the seed companies affiliated with Monsanto. Here’s a list of these seed companies by location (click under “Where to Buy” and select your location for a list of dealers to avoid): http://www.seminis.com/global/us/Pages/default.aspx
- Buy from companies Monsanto HASN’T bought and are not affiliated or do business with Seminis: The graphic to the right indicates numerous companies that are worthy of your patronage as compiled by the International Seed Saving Institute. Please note that this many not be a complete list. If your seed company does not appear, just be sure to clarify with the owner about any potential affiliation with Monsanto-Seminis before buying from them.
- Avoid buying heirloom varieties for which Monsanto owns the trademark: http://againstthewall.info/2013/04/09/monsanto-owned-heirloom-seednames-to-watch-out-for
- Ask seed companies if they have taken the Safe Seed Pledge. Here’s a list of companies that have done so: http://www.councilforresponsibegenetics.org/ViewPage.aspx?pageId=261