4 Steps to keep Monsanto out of your garden

silversword(9A)March 28, 2013

"Seed catalogs are starting to arrive 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 donâÂÂt 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 many of the names of the 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.


Here's some info to keep your wallet on the same side as your politics (or brain:)

Here is a link that might be useful: The Steps

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And the list of affiliate companies to AVOID, as they're owned by Monsanto. Don't buy from these groups!

Here is a link that might be useful: Seminis

    Bookmark   March 28, 2013 at 4:35PM
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Good link. Too bad we can't get industrial ag to purchase different seeds - that's the big influence. Baby steps.

    Bookmark   March 28, 2013 at 4:40PM
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Good links. They should have included Seed Savers on the list of Monsanto free choices.

    Bookmark   March 28, 2013 at 5:10PM
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Why it's so important to save seed. I need to do better on that, I save less than half of my varieties, probably.

    Bookmark   March 28, 2013 at 5:19PM
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I ordered last night--been using John Scheeper's for years now. No GMO, lots of heirlooms.

I save a LOT of seeds, mostly flower seeds, though. One year I saved pumpkin seed and planted it following season. It had crossed; I got "pumpchinni"--not good for much, but won Best of Show for largest squash...

If posssible, you really should grow your own.

    Bookmark   March 28, 2013 at 6:46PM
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Thanks so much for providing sources... I've been looking for a few things to add to the gardens. Great article with good information.

You know... it's sad, but the gardening industry is just like any other, and is not immune from being a magnet for profiteers, right down to the soil we're sold for container growing, the vast number of fertilizers and other chemicals on the shelves, and all manner of tools, gadgets and such.

For example, after many years of struggling to grow certain plants in commercial potting soil, I now mix my own medium for container growing based upon concepts rooted in science and physics, avoiding the generally accepted commercial market and its widely used ideas... and I grow in pots differently than I do in garden beds because of the vast differences between the two environments.

I really wish there weren't so many wives tales and so much misinformation floating about, but it's just another industry, not unlike any other looking to profit from consumers.

And Monsanto goes too far in such a quest. People should know exactly what they're eating, exactly what they're growing, and have a wider choice in such things.

I'm not convinced that GMO is safe or healthy, and in fact, I'm more of the opinion that it's a lot riskier than Monsanto or other corporations would ever admit to.

    Bookmark   March 28, 2013 at 7:43PM
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Excellent, Silver, thanks!!

    Bookmark   March 29, 2013 at 4:40AM
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Brushworks Spectacular Finishes(5)

Seed Savers Exchange is on the list of those who signed the pledge.

Ferry Morse also signed the pledge but should be your least favorite since they sold out to Seed Holdings which resulted in laying off hundreds of faithful workers. I guess the family was looking for a way to cash in on the profit.

    Bookmark   March 29, 2013 at 7:57AM
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marshallz10(z9-10 CA)

I hate to break this news to you folks. The independent, mom-and-pop seed industry has been more or less destroyed over the past two decades and a few bio-petro-chem-companies have bought up many of the once major seed suppliers although they might continue to market under the original names. The seed business of your parents' era was sustained by regional companies supplying local and nearby farmers. Aggressive marketing by Monsanto and their ilk took over those markets. In other cases (e.g. Semitis), Monsanto bought out the much larger seed company in order to acquire its seed lines, many being traditional open-pollinated vegetables with the promise to continue to offer these OP's. Well, surprise! Finding these varieties is becoming more difficult; lots of "new and improved" hybrids appear on seed lists, of course.

Do support those companies that have signed on to the Save Seed Pledge and consider supporting the Organic Seed Alliance, a group of independent seed companies working toward breeding high yielding crops of high quality that are adapted to specific bioregions (rather than claimed to be adapted to growing everywhere). Some of the varieties so far bred by participating farmers and small seed companies include Dark Star Zucchini, high-yielding, disease-resistant, and open-growing bush summer squash. Another zucchini I like is Eel River out of the Pacific Northwest, bred by a local farm and tolerant of cooler regions. I give these as examples of superior varieties not found in most seed catalogs coming from the major seed companies.

I am a member of and great fan of Seed Savers Exchange. I also recommend other regional seed companies that specialize in finding and saving local traditional and heirloom varieties: Southern Exposure Seed Exchange (VA) and Native Seed/SEARCH (AZ) come to mind.

Support your local farmers and permaculturists. Support efforts to establish local seed libraries and seed saving groups. I working with three other growing sites in support of the Santa Barbara Seed Saving Guild where we are planning growouts of varieties best adapted to this cool coastal region. These saved seeds will be distributed to local seed libraries, school and community gardens, and local growers.

    Bookmark   March 29, 2013 at 10:43AM
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I pretty much exclusively use SESE and Bountiful Gardens. I hope you won't say the latter has sold out, Marshall.

    Bookmark   March 29, 2013 at 12:34PM
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I planted lettuce this year.... everywhere. So far I've given over 10lbs to neighbors and friends, and I have more to pick every day. I don't know what my outright cost is, I bought the same two loads of organic compost from the people down the road ($30 each), and of course the labor (me) is cheaper than my therapy bills would be if I weren't taking all my angst out on the weeds. My water bill is negligible because we're taxed for using less... more is better!

I saved my seed from last year :)

    Bookmark   March 29, 2013 at 1:12PM
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Excellent thread; thanks, silver. Your are taxed more, the less water you use??? Where do you live?!

    Bookmark   March 29, 2013 at 2:45PM
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marshallz10(z9-10 CA)

No, Pat, Bountiful Gardens and John Jeavons have not sold out, nor have his daughter and son-in-law. Cooke's Garden Seed used to be part of Coleman's organic alternative small ag and gardening supply business, but they sold the business to Burpee's which is now also part of the Park Seed company and ??? and a couple of once independent flower bulb/corm companies. Gardens Alive now owns several other small seed and bulb companies. Too depressing to continue.

    Bookmark   March 29, 2013 at 7:05PM
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Thank goodness. Bountiful gardens is one of the best things in the country right now.

    Bookmark   March 29, 2013 at 7:17PM
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marshallz10(z9-10 CA)

So, you don't like Fedco Seed in Maine. The company (a coop) has signed the Safe Seed Pledge and, I think, was a founding member of the Organic Seed Alliance. They label seed varieties according to standards grown: cert. org., Biodynamic, and ecological, or something like that. The company also supports local and region suppliers of seeds and tubers and identifies where and how grow in some cases.

My issue with most popular seed companies and even smaller regional ones is that they have come to rely on seed brokers who source seed stock from around the world. Often the broker has no idea how the seed was grown out or how close to the varietal type the seed might match. The first filial generation of hybrid origins may be grown by one farming enterprise in Thailand and that seed might be sold all over the world. Another hybrid might be grown out only in Honduras and another in India.

    Bookmark   March 29, 2013 at 7:54PM
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Too depressing to continue.

.000000000002% of seed sales to home gardeners is great and a good start. And we can't even get GMO labeling in the 5th largest economy in the world, so there is a loooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooong way to go.

    Bookmark   March 29, 2013 at 8:07PM
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marshallz10(z9-10 CA)

you are sure loooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooong on optimism, dano. :)

Most of the seed volume account for the 5 industrial crops, not the "minor crops" of vegetables, herbs and fruit that feed us and lots of other people. Most of the ag subsidies go to those same 5 industrial crops and little or none to "minor crop" producers.

    Bookmark   March 29, 2013 at 8:32PM
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All I need this year is to add a couple of rain barrels to catch more water, and I think I'm in business!

Thanks for the additional information, Marshallz.

    Bookmark   March 29, 2013 at 10:40PM
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