Sunday, February 3, 2013

Do You Know Your Seeds, Really?

EIEIO! It's Super Sow Sunday, the day that officially kicks off the North American gardening season and when we begin starting seeds indoors in anticipation of warmer days ahead. My BathroomFarm is not a seasonal garden. It grows all year 'round, but I look forward to the participating in the community of gardening at this time of the year. I, like everyone else, have a desk full of seed catalogs. But, really, these days, we need to stop and think about how well we know our seeds.

Look at this! This is an aging chart showing how most of the seed companies in the world are owned by chemical engineering companies. Nothing about that sounds too tasty for the table. More and more small companies are being acquired every year, so it's a good idea to check the history and ownership of the sources of your seeds. It's true that most of these companies, are supplying seeds for factory farms. It's also true that many people are growing their own food because this is exactly what they don't want.

Really, are you completely breaking free from this corporate system, and all of the creepy frankenfood associated with it, by gardening? You think that by buying heirloom or organic seeds that you are no longer supporting the downward spiral in biodiversity.
I was shocked to learn, that in its quest to monopolize the American food production industry, that Monsanto has begun buying the names of varieties of heirloom vegetables. When you buy seeds from plants with names owned by Monsanto, Monsanto is getting paid. Money fuels their fire for world domination. There is some good news. None of these plants have been genetically modified. All that is owned is the intellectual property of the name of the plant.


The plot further thickens for farmers who grow plants from seeds whose names are owned or whose genetic patents are owned by chemical engineering companies. H. R. 193 is now pending in the United States House of Representatives. If passed, this law would require farmers, who grow seeds with intellectual property owned by another party, to register saved seeds and pay fees on them.


There is good news, though. There are plenty of ethical organic and heirloom seed companies who want your business and are willing to take a pledge to assure their customers of the integrity of their products. To make the simple act of buying seed with conscience simple again, be sure to ask your supplier if they have signed "The Safe Seed Pledge". If they have not, but want to make this commitment to quality of their products and to biodiversity, please share the link below with them. I believe that this is going to be an important factor in consumer choice in the very near future.


Once you navigate all of this madness surrounding the once-simple seed and mindfully purchase your seeds, you have some planting to do! Freshly planted seeds and tiny seedlings do need some tender loving care. I make upcycled "watering cans" from empty milk cartons. It's simple to do. Just punch holes in the cap to gently spritz water on your tiny plants.

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