The holidays are more or less coming to a close and the New Year is upon us. Every gardener, serious or hobbyist, is starting to think about seeds. Glossy, full colored catalogs are arriving to snow covered mailboxes all over New England waxing poetic about exotic vegetables and fruits that would unquestionably be the pièce de résistance in any garden. I accept that I am weak willed when it comes to the marketing genius of seed catalogs; the books that have arrived thus far are already dog-eared and covered in enthusiastic circles of red ink marking the varieties that I absolutely must have…
To me, it is critical that I know where my seeds are coming from. It is not enough that I grow my produce in an organic, sustainable manner, but I insist that my seed purveyor is environmentally responsible as well.
In early 2005, Monsanto purchased Seminis, the largest developer, grower and marketer of fruit and vegetable seeds in the world. Unfortunately, this means that the majority of seed suppliers in this country are tied to Monsanto’s apron strings. Some New England suppliers, such as Fedco Seeds in Maine made the decision to drop Seminis as a supplier after their customers expressed their dissatisfaction with the link to the multinational biotechnology corporation, Monsanto. Others, like Johnny’s Selected Seeds, also of Maine, have chosen to slowly phase out their Seminis products, only after finding suitable replacements.
There have been any number of postings floating around the internet that denounce numerous well known seed providers as either owned by or supplied by Monsanto-Seminis. The reality is, none of these postings are cited or substantiated.
So how do we figure out where our seeds come from? How do we keep our gardens safe from seeds produced by Monsanto-Seminis and other companies who are not aligned with our ideology? We have to do some research that’s a little more in depth than reading lists that have been copied and pasted around the internet. It involves a lot of reading, learning about the practice and philosophy of companies we may want to purchase from. Sometimes it is as simple as picking up the phone and directly asking a company if they are supplied by Monsanto, Seminis or any of their associates. If you don’t like the answer, keep looking!
It’s not just a question of keeping your garden safe from GMO seeds, but a issue of supporting corporations that are environmentally and socially irresponsible.
Here’s a short list (I’ve done the research for you on these ones) – vote with your dollars by supporting seed companies that supply organic, open pollinated, heirloom seeds and that have corporate values that support wholesome food systems and cultural and agricultural preservation. These are some of my favorite companies to buy from: