Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Another word on seeds

I am not expert on this and I don’t want to belabor the subject, so I will try to make this brief. While putting together this year’s seed order, I ended up doing quite a bit of poking around on the web. It seems to me that there is a lot of both confusion and disagreement about seeds (and everything else in the world). Especially when it Industrial Agriculture starts looking for backdoors into the organic/sustainable food system. Specifically, no one seems sure what is going on, but there are rampant rumors that Monsanto owns just about every seed company in the known universe. Here is the short story of what is going on.

Once upon a time there was a relatively large seed company called Seminis. Seminis collected and breed a whole lot of seed varieties (esp. hybrids) and most every small seed company out there bought some of their varieties from Seminis. A few years ago, Monsanto bought Seminis. This sent the industry into chaos and nobody was quite sure what to do. Some seed companies vowed to eliminate all Seminis varieties from their catalog with the disclaimer that it might take a few years to find alternate sources (ex. Fedco). Other companies are still hemming and hawing about the right thing to do (ex. Johnny’s Selected Seeds). That being said, Monsanto doesn’t own Territorial, Fedco, Johnny’s, etc…but some of them might still have Seminis varieties in their catalog. Here is a really in depth article about the whole shebang: shebang

Also, M and M/Mars does in fact own Seeds of Change, which inexplicably started using plastic pouches for their seeds (with the claim that this is the most environmental option). I am not sure what the future holds for all of this, another reason to start seed collecting I suppose.

As for SUFCo, we are going to stop buying seeds from any company that continues to carry Seminis seeds (it should be noted that I have a very large grudge against Monsanto) and I don't see us buying organic seeds from a candy company either. Here are a few organizations that I believe are trying to do the right thing :
High Mowing Seeds
Seed Savers Exchange
Victory Seeds
among others...here is a long list from ATTRA http://attra.ncat.org/attra-pub/altseed_db_results.php?Class=3&resultpage=1&SearchBtn=Go

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