Probably not. Seed companies don’t sell genetically modified seed to the home gardener since it requires a contract for their “patented life form” Whew! But still, where can you go for pure seeds and trusted seed companies that sell them. I’m working on it!
I’ve recently discovered through my own digging that I may have been supporting the “big 6” biochemical companies inadvertently. I thought that buying from companies that have taken the “Safe Seed Pledge” or sold “USDA Organic & Heirloom” seed was good enough. It is NOT! It’s come to my attention that a couple of the companies I’ve long trusted, Territorial Seed Company and Ed Hume Seeds, both claim the Safe Seed Pledge (in that they don’t sell GMO seed) and yet they continue to sell Syngenta & Seminis seeds! Imagine my horror to find that I had retail packages of the offending corporations like Monsanto & Syngenta in my own garden seed box!
With that discovery I began my slog through the Ag catalogs to see if any of the seed I’d purchased was a GMO or treated with insecticides and such. Low and behold, I found some of those trademarked brands of seed listed right alongside the genetically engineered BT corn! It also allowed me to see that they make a distinction between seed for the home garden and commercial farmers. I was relieved to find that as a home gardener, I can’t get a GMO seed without signing a contract with the biochemical company since some seeds are patented life forms. Thankfully, I’m not growing a GMO in my garden. What it did do, was make me aware of the brand names of seeds I am buying and which companies still sell Syngenta & Seminis (Monsanto) seeds!
So now the hard part. How can I keep my dollars from flowing to the companies that are diametrically opposed to the values I hold dear? (namely, buying sustainable organic, open pollinated, heirloom varieties that help continue the genetic diversity of seeds I can grow in my own garden) Well, its difficult! I can’t just grab an “organic” packet off the rack anymore since those seed companies may be repackaging Syngenta & Seminis seeds under their own labels!
What can we do? We can continually challenge companies to keep our values by divesting themselves from the biochemical companies. By reaching for seeds that are from companies that have not only taken the Safe Seed Pledge, but by checking to make sure that they are true to the spirit of genetic diversity and not just giving it “lip service” or using the Safe Seed Pledge as a marketing tool. I’ve also started challenging the companies directly on their Facebook pages about their commitment to the S.S.P. Here’s an excerpt of what I wrote on the Ed Hume Seeds Facebook page:”
Your seeds are not GMO? Anybody that’s done a little research knows seeds marketed for home gardens CAN’T be a GMO. You’ve got to sign a contract to get those. What CAN be said is that Ed Hume Seeds sells #Syngenta seeds, from one of the “big 6” biochemical companies! #Syngenta and #Seminis are both divisions of, or associated with #Monsanto! We need companies true to the “SafeSeedPledge”. #EdHumeSeeds has NOT taken that pledge! Honey Select is a registered Syngenta seed! http://www.humeseeds.com/cornhs.htm”
That has resulted in them deleting my Facebook posts and gotten me banned by Ed Hume Seeds. Thankfully Territorial Seed is still responding!
Since I’ve decided I don’t want to support biochemical companies in my garden if its humanly possible, I’ve started the task of finding ways to reliably confirm that the seed companies I buy from are in fact NOT sourcing their seeds from Seminis or Syngeta. That is proving to be a hard row to hoe! I’ve found a few “cultivars” databases that allow me to actually reference the brand name of the seed to verify who has developed it and where its sourced from. Here are links to two databases. They aren’t as up to date as they could be, but they are a start!
I’ve also started compiling a list of companies that I have checked for Syngenta & Seminis branded seed varieties. That list is incomplete and I will post it when its reasonably accurate. On a side note, I was able to retrieve the list of seed companies from “Occupy Monsanto 360” website that disappeared last year. If you’d like that, just let me know. Lets hope that with our hard work and with help from others, we can gain knowledge and find tools to help us make educated choices in how we grow, feed and build our families!