I posted this in my journal and thought it may be easier to access in the appropriate board.
copied from Facebook board:
“Rudy Arredondo (Washington, DC) wroteon August 22, 2008 at 9:56am
Seed Companies & their Relationships w/Monsanto
2008/8/14 Diane Dodge
FYI from Nick DeMarsh:
Here is an interesting post on Seed companies supplied by monsanto. If you think it is relevant please pass it on to the growing food and justice listserve….
•Vermont Bean Seed Co.
•Earl May Seed
•Mountain Valley Seed
•Tomato Growers Supply
•Willhite Seed Co.
•The Vermont Bean Seed Company
•Seeds for the World
•Seymour’s Selected Seeds
•Roots and Rhizomes
•McClure and Zimmerman Quality Bulb Brokers
•Spring Hill Nurseries
•Flower of the Month Club
•Park’s Countryside Garden
And one final thing: here’s a link to another seed company, Fedco, who posted information on their website about their own decision to forgo using Seminis any longer once they had been purchased by Monsanto: http://www.fedcoseeds.com/seeds/monsanto.htm
Fedco Seeds – The Monsanto Debate/Monsanto Buys Seminis
Adding to the list od Seminis (daughter company of Monsanto) purchasers direct from Seminis website:
•Dege Garden Center
•E & R Seed Co
•Earl May Seed
•Germania Seed Co
•Johnnys Selected Seeds
•J.W. Jung Seed Co.
•Mountain Valley Seed
•Nichols Garden Nursery
•Rocky Mountain Seed Co.
•T & T Seeds, Ltd.
•Tomato Growers Supply
•Willhite Seed Co.
Thanks for posting this.
Last year, I grew Scarlet Runner Beans from seeds bought at Canadian Tire (McKenzie Seeds). Following instructions I found online, I collected some of the beans at the end of the season, hoping to grow them again this year.
This Spring, I planted the beans I had collected last year in one planter, and some beans from the original package in another planter. Turns out, only the packaged beans grew! None of the second generation beans did anything, leading me to wonder if they had been genetically modified to inhibit this.
So that’s what got me interested in your post, and I appreciate it!
So Monsanto companies sell genetically enhanced seeds? I am trying to understand the post. :)
Sadly, it’s way more complicated than that. The short version is that Monsanto’s business model is ecologically devastating. Here’s the long version:
Monsanto creates genetically modified (GM) seeds. GM seeds are troubling because we don’t understand all their implications — for example, what will happen if a GM plant crosses with a non-GM plant? We don’t really know.
Monsanto also owns Semenis, the largest seed producer in the world. This is troubling because one company controls so much seed stock — what if they decide to stop selling it? Or what if through some disaster they lose a particular kind of seed? For example, Semenis owns Early Girl hybrid tomatoes. If they stop making it (either by design or disaster), it’s just gone. What if that happens to a more important seed?
There are other issues too — for example, Monsanto has been forcing laws through various states that put small seed cleaners out of business, which makes it more difficult for farmers to save seed, and more necessary for them to buy Semenis or Monsanto seed. There are other concerns about Monsanto. Try the following Google searches to learn more:
what’s wrong with monsanto
This combination of Monsanto’s GM activities and their control of Semenis and all the other issues is deeply troubling, so a lot of people go out of their way to avoid purchasing their seeds. Even if you aren’t creeped-out by GM foods, you might want to think twice about Semenis seeds — it’s never a great idea to centralize control of our food sources (as the recent late blight problem in the north east illustrated — several huge growers grew seedlings in infected soil, and then shipped the seedlings to farms and spread the problem quite widely. If there were more growers, the problem might not have been as widespread).
It’s not easy to tell which seeds are Monsanto/Semenis and which are not from a catalog description, so the only clear way to avoid them is to buy from a seed seller that has pledged to not sell them. Those sellers on the list above have NOT made that pledge. So the point of the post is to help people who care about his avoid Monsanto/Semenis seeds.
Well put, Katxena.
Just tonight I found out that Monsanto owned a large area of property 5 miles down the road from us. Phosphate mining. They even went so far as to create a lake to wash the dirt as they striped the phosphates from the land. The mine is no longer in production and the lake is now gone. That’s good since I think the red glow in the sky would keep me up at night, not to mention the smell of sulfur from the chemical plant that was known to waft in this direction.
So true Katxena, It is way more complicated, and we can only imagine the obvious, without going into any further depth and becoming lost to paranoia in the process.
Without being a pessimist it’s actually bloody frightening what could happen, and the worst part of is that once the genie is out of the bottle, it won’t (can’t) be put back in.
Look at the mess the Global warming / Climate change debate has become. Everyone’s pointing fingers and poo hooing the other when all we (the inhabitants of earth) want is some checks and balances to at least ensure that the future will exist for those that come after us. (No, not our descendants, that’s how blood feuds start)
We’ve always meddled in our environment and in most cases that has been reasonably low impact purely because the rate of change has been restricted by the methods used, geography or natural predators. These GM types of changes are on a huge scale though and can be scaled up in the blink of an eye – if you’re even allowed to see it happen! They are widespread and they are being slipped through under the protection of the law by less than open methods.
None of it inspires any measure of confidence, it all comes down to trust in something that is beholden to no-one except the almighty dollar – scary stuff.
What’s the corporate mantra – Trust me? Pig’s arse, I don’t trust anyone with the future, let alone a faceless corporation – it belongs to everybody!
And centralised food sources, regulation and trust me? Potato famine anyone? Just buy our seeds though and you won’t be bothered ever again! Remember to come back to the well next year, and don’t even think about competing – it’s outlawed.
Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain. Yeah right, most people are unaware that there (it) is a curtain.
@ whirliegig- our class took a field trip to a phosphate mine when I was in Junior High. Bartow, Fl. It was interesting, and they let us dig up some fossils.
@ Katxena- thanks for the info. It was very educational. We are not sure exactly where we stand with that yet. We like heirlooms because we can save the seeds and we know that they will come back exactly the same the next time we plant seed. We recently saw a CSI that was about a corporation that had created some GM corn that had, I think, Bochilism (spelling?) in it. It was sort of freaky, but we still use some hybrid things.
@TR, there’s nothing wrong with hybrids. I plant them too, especially spinach — open pollinated spinach doesn’t grow well for me. My problem with Monsanto has nothing to do with hybrids. It’s about GM foods and centralization. My Early Girl example was just to try and illustrate how whole varieties of plants can just disappear at the whim of some company — and if that company owns a WHOLE LOT of hybrids, that gives them a whole lot of control over what I can and cannot buy.
I’m opposed to GM foods, and I’m opposed to companies being too big, especially ones that monopolize control of basic needs of life. Like the banks, Monsanto really is too big to fail. If something should happen to them, the effect on our food system would be immediate and traumatic. Too big to fail is dangerous, in my opinion, not only because it means we might have to bail them out, but also because it means they probably control too much and that control limits diversity. Monsanto is everywhere, and that scares the crap out of me.
Kristiecav was awesome enough to post this for me. If this article doesn’t alarm you then I don’t know what will. It sums up the reasons to avoid Monsanto products effectively, but doesn’t bring up the “terminator gene”.
re: GM. The problem with gm is lack of transparency. In theory, a plant that results from GM wouldn’t necessarily be any worse than a traditionally bred plant, the process is just drastically accelerated because they can be more selective. I get squeamish with transgenetic plants that couldn’t be made through conventional breeding because they take genes from other species. Doing stuff like adding genes to make plants produce their own pesticides scares me quite a lot, since no one has any clue how that will impact beneficial species and if those genes got into the wild it could lead to ecological devastation. GM is too much like the pharmeceutical industry. The research is privately controlled, even if it’s being done in public institutions. Private funders of research can prevent publication of any negative research and selectively publish positive research. So we don’t know about negative side effects even if we stay on top of the research. Researchers active in the field won’t even know about the negative research unless it is passed to them by word of mouth. And the amount of research required before it is released into the environment is to low for my taste. It’s so much worse than a pill that might kill a bunch of patients then it gets pulled from the market—it’s tragic, but the scope of the tragedy is confined. Without sufficient testing before release, we are all exposed, whether or not we choose to use the product. For me to be comfortable with GM, we’d need the sorts of laws that they’re just getting around to proposing (and naturally haven’t and probably won’t implement) for medical research. There’d have to be requirements that all research, even negative research, get published. And there’d have to be extremely rigorous standards for release. I’d want to see these things grown for several years in greenhouses with mini-ecosystems and careful tracking of beneficial insect populations. And I’d want GM foods to be fed to rats for a while before I ate it myself. I know some people are squeamish about animal testing, but once it’s released the rats are going to be eating it, like it or not. Better to test it on a subpopulation of rats than on all rats, squirrels, racoons, and people in one go. And so on.
re: centralization. What katxena said. A food monopoly is a serious problem on so many levels. It kind of puts concerns about microsoft into perspective, doesn’t it. This is just so much bigger and we’re all shielded from it because it’s at the base of the production chain and by the time it reaches us we’re looking at a serious number of options. Just buying seeds, we think we’re looking at more options and lots of competition. Whirliegig has a seriously long list up there, but if they’re all middlemen for the same monopoly, we have a problem.
re: beets. So maybe I’m totally wrong here. But species lines aren’t really firm. Some species cross with related species just fine, and most of their seed is infertile. That’s why you’re not supposed to plant your fennel anywhere near your dill. But even if 99.999999% of crosses are infertile, you’d only need one fertile seed to jump before it spreads to other plants in the family. What with all the roundup and all, that one plant would be extremely fit and it’s offspring would take over. We see this with drug resistant viruses all the time. Plants are far more complex and have much longer life cycles. How many years would it take with plants? Aren’t we just going to breed roundup resistant pigweed (distant beet relative), requiring stronger herbicides? I figure we’re talking somewhere between decades and centuries, but it’s still damned inconsiderate to future generations. Am I totally off base for thinking this is a possibility? Will someone with a degree in genetics please tell me that I’m off base. It would make me feel much better.
As for that list: the crazy thing is that I recieve 95% of those catalogs unsolicited. How many other people nationwide (worldwide?) recieve those same catalogs without any idea that they’re purchasing relatively the same seed with a different name from a different company?
Wow. Just wow.
@whirliegig – not relatively. Exactly. A lot more often than most folks realize.
In some cases, it’s the exact same seed with the exact same name – if the seed is propagated as a PVP (Plant Variety Protected).
A lot more often though it’s the exact same seed under a different name… you could buy Company A’s “SuperWonder” radish seed thinking it’s different cultivar from Company B’s “ReallyRed” radish when, in fact, they both bought in bulk from a company (let’s say… Semenis…). They’re simply using the trademarked name(s) superwonder and reallyred as their own company identifier. They do that in the case of seeds with expired patents or PVPs… or heirloom seeds.
Cook’s Garden is actually part of Burpee. Gee, how did CG get my name? I didn’t request a catalog. Didn’t need to if you ordered from Burpee’s…
Gurney’s, Spring Hill Nurseries, Henry Fields, The Garden Store and The Michigan Bulb Company are owned by an umbrella company – Scarlet Tanager, LLC. The person who owns that umbrella company also owns a few other catalog companies: Spring Hill Nurseries, Breck’s Bulbs, Audubon Workshop, Flower of the Month Club, and Gardens Alive.
Totally Tomatoes, R.H. Shumway, The Vermont Bean Seed Company, Seeds for the World, Seymour’s Selected Seeds, HPS, Roots and Rhizomes, and McClure and Zimmerman Quality Bulb Brokers are all under the J.W. Jung Seed Company’s umbrella.
Park Seed? Park Bulbs and Park’s Countryside Garden are obvious – plus Wayside Gardens.
Do ANY of them grow their own seed supplies? Not so much. Most (if not all) of their seeds come from six suppliers.
Those six major suppliers own something along the lines of 98% of the WORLD’s seed supply. Scary stuff.
I am not comfortable with the consolidation of seed companies, either. I think that it’s essential to support a system consisting of many independent suppliers in order to ensure a stable supply of biodiverse plant material, to minimize the impact of pests and disease on our food supply, and to maintain different varieties of food crops that are adapted to specific conditions. Consolidation of seed suppliers leads to a scary monopoly situation and to a reduction in the total number of seed varieties offered.
When I was growing up, my mom always bought her seeds from Burpee, so that was the first catalog I turned to when I started growing vegetables on my own. But I like the idea of supporting a greater range of seed varieties and suppliers, so I’ve decided to switch entirely to Fedco and Johnny’s next year. Here’s what they have to say about Monsanto’s acquisition of Seminis:
Fedco decided to stop purchasing seeds from Seminis after Montanto bought them. Here’s their statement about that: http://www.fedcoseeds.com/seeds/monsanto.htm
Johnny’s still offers 40 different types of vegetable seeds sold by Seminis, but they’re working to find replacements from other suppliers and phase out their use of Seminis. Here’s their statement: http://www.johnnyseeds.com/pdf/Who_Owns_Johnnys.pdf
Interesting list. Also interesting that I just so happen to not buy seeds from any of those companies, and that was entirely accidental.
What has me so concerned about Monstano is their aggressiveness. I’m sure I don’t have to go into too many details, but what irks me that absolute most out of everything Monstano does, is that they go after farmers, prosecute, and somehow win (which is baffling to me).
One of the most famous cases is Percy Schmeiser vs. Monsanto in Saskatchewan (and fortunately Schmeiser sort of won the case). His field of canola was contaminated with Monsanto Round Up Ready Canola, and Monsanto actually tried to make him pay THEM because their seed blew by wind onto his property and grew. That, in my book, is disgusting. It’s a gross violation of property rights. He has an interesting website up where you can read about his story here: http://www.percyschmeiser.com/
There’s also quite a good Vanity Fair article that was published in May of 2008 about Monsanto:
Now, I am not one of those people who hates a company just because it’s a “big company”. But Monsanto is a different story, they deserve to be hated because they’re slimy.
I’d like to also state for the record that I don’t hate all genetically modified foods either. I think they have their place, but I do agree with Cristyn that there needs to be maybe more transparency as to what’s going on (the pesticide testing is bizarre and a little worrisome). I don’t have to buy hybrids (I don’t) or GM seeds (I also don’t). Why? Because OP/heirloom veggies taste better (well, there are some I’ve grown that I haven’t liked – but then I just move on to the next new variety to try).
I’m sure I do buy genetically modified foods at the grocery story, to tell you the truth, I’m not overly worried about that. Fact of the matter is it’s human nature to try to control food, we’ve been geneticlaly modifying crops since the beginning of agriculture (the history of corn and apples are good case studies in that). Just because it’s done in a lab doesn’t mean it’s bad. I think with something like genetically modified foods you have to be pragmatic. And by you I mean us, us as individuals, as a society, and a world.
We also have it pretty good, all of us gardeners aren’t going through famine or starving here on myfolia. If we loose a crop of tomatoes or corn or beans to X disease one year, it’s sad and it sucks, but our families won’t starve.
However, in certain areas of the world there’s certain conditions due to climate, erosion, etc. where crops can’t grow unless they’re modified to say, be more resistant to drought, or be more resistant to a certain disease, or be more resistant to locusts. What’s good for you in your garden, doesn’t necessarily work for the rest of the human population. So, I don’t think it’s right to out and out deny genetically modified crops simply because they ARE genetically modified.
One of the saddest, and most ridiculous cases of “all genetically modified is bad!” kind of thinking was when Zambia, under pressure by Greenpeace, denied a shipment of corn as aid from the US to help feed the people. Why? Because it was genetically modified (only about 30% of the shipment would have been GM corn, but it was all denied). So instead of accepting corn, the Zambian government denied it under pressure from environmental groups. What happened? People starved and died. That is a really freaking stupid thing to do. There’s no excuse for that. This wasn’t corn with crazy “fish” genes or any of those other urban myths, it was corn that had been genetically modified that you and I eat every day. And people died because some privileged environmental groups thought their ideals were more valuable then human life. Plain and simple. And that is despicable.
Sorry, kind of got off on a tangent there!
I came across this post recently that deals with some of the issues raised here if anyone is interested.
The scientific american article on the topic of research is worth reading as well (although you can only read the first page without subscribing it sums up the issue pretty well):
I have been ranting like a banshee against this company and others like it since i was a know-it-all fourteen year old.
And as much as i admire Barack Obama…HELLO???? The Obama administration appointed Tom Vilsack to head the department of agriculture. A Monsanto shill is now Secretary of Agriculture with Obama administrations permission. Good lordy lord.
The Australian Government isn’t doing much better re: the Terminator Gene either.
Thanks for the link to the scientific american article. It is worth reading.
Edited original post to remove Territorial from the list. They do not carry seed from Monsanto, but do carry seed from the original owners of the company now called Semenis:
“…Seminis, (formally Petoseed) does still maintain a very small wholesale division devoted to marketing seed varieties for the home garden market. We do buy a small and ever decreasing amount of items from their wholesale list. These are primarily older home garden classics like Celebrity, Big Beef, and Super Marzano tomatoes. These unique varieties were bred by Petoseed; which at one time was the nation’s pemier seed house. This is the company we originally signed up to do business with 30 years ago. Many of these items are truly works of living art, crafted by old school seedsmen who utilized traditional breeding crosses as their canvas to create new varieties specifically for home gardeners. These items have been no less loved and appreciated by generations of home gardeners than the works of Monet or Warhol have been to the visual arts community….”
Read the full response at Chiotsrun blog in the comment section by Josh Kirschenbaum.
I can deny GM crops and won’t be ashamed of it period.
There is no research done that is complete about GMO or GEO on the long term health effects on people or the long term effects of them in the eco system.
What research is done is swept under the rug and not for public consumption. If it was avail. for public consumption, I have no doubt no one would want them any where in the world.
Forcing gene’s together that ordinarily don’t happen naturally or through natural occurrences, via a lab is not “OK”. I suppose GM children would be “Ok” ? as they would “Have their place in the world and would benefit someone and somebody”?
I’m sad to read some folk have skewed ethics on this subject,happy to see a majority have positive ethics on the subject and doesn’t let the Monsanto Propaganda form their opinions form them.
Yes GM seeds and plants benefit and feed people alright. It benefits and feeds those who profit from them.
OK, I’m done on this topic, I’m afraid I’m in trouble enough as it is already.
@TropicanaRoses…check out the doco The World According to Monsanto. It’s free to watch on the net (google it – lots of sites will come up where you can watch the whole thing) but there’s also a copy of it avail on Youtube (broken down into 10 parts): part 1 is here It’s scary. And it really only just begins to cover the multitude of problems with Monsanto…
Here not 5 miles from our house is a company whose business it is to engineer new hybrid corn, disease resistant, etc. We know people who work there. Our former landlord worked there. We don’t know everything about that stuff, but enough to be concerned and cautious.
There are so many cloudy areas that the public doesn’t get to see unless they do some digging. A very good example is Burpee. The Chairman/CEO of Burpee is Currently serving as a director of Seminis, which is owned by Monsanto. George Ball has been writing several articles and doing a lot of interviews defending Burpee as not being associated with Monsanto. He fails to mention the following. Here’s his Bio:
George C. Ball, Jr. serves as the Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of W. Atlee Burpee and Co. Mr. Ball has been the President of Burpee Holding Company since 1993. Mr. Ball served as the Chairman of the Board of Petoseed for two year. Mr. Ball has been a Director of Seminis since October 1995. Mr. Ball served as a Director of Geo J. Ball, Inc. from 1989 until its merger with Seminis Inc. in October 1995. Exerpt from Bloomberg Business Week
Also Petoseed (Ball was director) is owned by Seminis/Monsanto.
Why is it that when I see things about guys like that I immediately get a vision of Charles Durning on the stairwell of the Chicken Ranch?
….I love to dance a little sidestep…
Yeah, they do. Bet he doesn’t mention the tomatoes that are or were “Burpee Exclusives”, either.
@whirliegig: I thought Territorial stopped selling Seminis seeds over a year ago. They also have signed the Safe Seed pledge. See here:
@tropicana and katxena: Whether or not there is “nothing wrong with hybrids” really depends a LOT on which hybrids. I am of the solid opinion that there is a LOT wrong with hybrids… so I try to avoid them as much as possible… Here is why…
Lots and lots of commonly sold hybrids have plenty wrong with them. Many of the popular hybrids sold are GMO plants, and the packaging does not even have to tell the shopper that it’s a GMO hybrid. And then, in addition to those, there’s also oodles of patented (PVP) hybrids, and the problem with those is that they aren’t a good idea for seed saving. I have family members who got into severe legal troubles and were bullied into selling their farm. The lawsuit was about the fact they had been saving seeds year after year, and their seeds had been proven to be “nearly identical to” PVP hybrids grown on neighbouring farms. (Pollen drift!)
My problem with Monsanto, therefore, has quite a lot to do with hybrids. As well as with global food takeover, and all the other concerns mentioned.
@kelly: “Fact of the matter is it’s human nature to try to control food”,
Yes, that part is basically an undisputable fact…
“we’ve been geneticlaly modifying crops since the beginning of agriculture”
This part is not true, and therefore it is not a fact.
This urban-myth based argument that humans have (supposedly) been genetically modifying food for millenia via selection and hybridization is, – please note, highly incorrect in its use of terms.
The terms genetic engineering and genetic modification, when used to describe plants, specifically refer to artificial (ie, lab-based) manipulation of plant genome. And such terms also specifically exclude various natural means of plant selection, within context of agricultural/horticultural science, botany, etc.
Since there was, of course, no artificial gene introduction going on in past millennia before recombinant DNA tech existed, the plant selection and hybridization which was done during past eras does not count as genetic engineering, no matter who falsely claims that it counts as GE.
“history of corn and apples are good case studies in that”
Corn and apples are case studies in selective breeding. And that is all they are case studies in.
It is important that we keep our definitions straight so we can have a rational and clear discussion.
Corn and apples are not case studies in genetic modification. It was not possible for any genetic modification to occur on those (or any) crops in pre-modern times, because the lab tech for genetic modification had not yet been invented!
The definition of genetic modification aka genetic engineering as currently used in Botany and in agriculture/horticulture is pretty plain and simple. Let’s all just keep it that way and not obfuscate the topic further, pretty please?
“Just because it’s done in a lab doesn’t mean it’s bad.”
True. However, GM plants and GM based foods are still bad, regardless.
My problem with lab-created GM foods is not just because they are created in a lab.
They are bad because they are known to cause sterility in vast numbers other plants, both in heirlooms as well as wild types…. (thanks to pollen drift and terminator gene)…
Also, GM plants and GM plant tech assists seed companies in taking over the global food supply,
Last but not least, GM foods are increasingly being shown by ongoing research to cause serious allergies, toxicity, infertility/miscarriages, and multiple organ damage problems in lab animals, and also in some people (such as myself)!
Fact is, when one rearranges the DNA, and therefore rearranges the nucleic acids and proteins in a given plant into different arrangements (sequences) than normally found in nature, the rearrangement causes highly indigestible, allergenic, and very toxic unnatural substances to be produced in the human body. These are substances which would never have occurred in a natural, non GMO food plant.
RoundUp Ready corn and soy come to mind here. Both of those break down into very dangerous levels of toxic formaldehyde in the human body, when digested.
I was unaware of the presence of GMO plants in my diet, because in the USA they do not require food labels to tell you that the package contains GMO foods. Much of the US corn supply is now GMO, and same with most of the US soy supply. I was on GMO food, unknowingly, for 8 months.
I am one of the unfortunate people who experienced serious kidney, liver, large intestine, and lymph node shutdowns, and got lupus and some other health issues, from GMO foods and the formaldehyde that they release when consumed.
Worse still, removing all GMOs from my diet for the past 2 yrs has not yet fully reversed all the damage done. :(
Individuals of course are free to remain in denial about the very real hazards (and innate badness) of GMO tech in food plants if they stubbornly insist, but I know the ugly truth about GMOs and will keep on sharing it so that others may be informed and hopefully see what is actually going on, before it is too late. I don’t want to see humanity’s food supply become irreversably poisoned.
@kelly re this quote of yours:
“We also have it pretty good, all of us gardeners aren’t going through famine or starving here on myfolia. If we loose a crop of tomatoes or corn or beans to X disease one year, it’s sad and it sucks, but our families won’t starve.”
Most of us, probably that is true of.
But please speak only for yourself because the above does not really hold true for me. If I lose my crops of food to disease, I very well might suffer serious malnutrition— short term starvation— because I am presently an unemployed, disabled, student who depends on what food I can grow for my personal survival and nourishment. I do get some help sometimes from hubby and from local charity, but even that is not looking good presently.
There is famine presently in Japan, which Oahu is pretty close to. Due to disaster thousands of Japanese have recently emigrated here to Honolulu, causing increased poverty, increased food prices, increased unemployment and petty theft, and even some localised food shortages here in the city. Our local food bank which assists the needy is dangerously low on food right now.
Further, the military (my family’s only source of income) may soon be put on pay freeze due to some budget related craziness in Congress. If that happens and I can’t even get food via hubbys paycheck, then I sure as heck might starve if I can’t get food from my garden!
There may be other Folians here who live on the edge of poverty and depend on what they grow for basic survival, too. I may not be the only one.
Please try to avoid broad sweeping generalisations about Folians, if you can, thanks! :)
@kelly re Zambian refusal to accept GM corn:
Zambia, under pressure by Greenpeace, denied a shipment of corn as aid from the US to help feed the people.
They did the right thing, IMHO, and it was sad that people starved, but it was nevertheless NOT stupid of them to refuse the GM seed.
Yes, people starved and died. People also die of starvation in USA, Mexico, and lately, some such deaths have occurred in Japan.
Plus, if the Zambian people had accepted the GM corn, they still would have starved and died in the next several years due to a population growth after the food aid which the area’s food production levels could not sustain, and also due to the toxicity of the GM corn itself.
“That is a really freaking stupid thing to do. There’s no excuse for that.”
It was not stupid at all. And there was plenty of good scientific reasoning (not mere excuse) to reject the GM seed… It was very very wise to reject it, given how toxic and dangerous GM food crops are turning out to be.
“it was corn that had been genetically modified that you and I eat every day.”
Well, sort of. It was the GM multiple-organ failure corn that I used to eat… which I unknowingly ate for 8 months. The very same GM multiple-organ failure corn which had me in and out of hospitals for over a year of my life. The very same GM corn which caused me multiple miscarriages, and the very same GM corn which nearly killed me.
So again I say, I am glad they did the right thing and rejected it!
People died because some ‘privileged’ environmental groups thought that it would be wise to prevent an eventual loss of even greater numbers of human lives…Over the long haul, even more would have died if they had accepted the GM corn, because the GM corn can also kill!
Plain and simple.
FYI: There actually have been some forms of GM food crops made which contain certain animal genes, such as a FlavrSavr tomato that contains a flounder gene, so that topic is not an ‘urban myth’, it is absolute scientific fact. Also, even this particular form GM corn which you seem to believe is innocuous is not, which is why Zambia refused it. It contains a bacterial gene (BT), so that makes it a transgenic form of corn with intraspecies DNA.
And there is nothing at all despicable about trying to minimize human suffering… but consider the costs and benefits of making public, blanket condemnations about a group of people whose values you don’t hold and which you apparently really don’t even understand…
If you haven’t ever been a member of Greenpeace, then pretty please avoid insults directed at those of us who have… B4 judging a man, it is best to walk at least a mile in his moccasins.
Apology accepted though… Both about the OT, and also for making such negative, broad judgments. I didn’t appreciate the undeserved condemnation terms like stupid and despicable… but I’ll get over it!
@grovespirit – a couple of years ago I did a LOT of researching on PVP/Plant patents. PVP seeds are required by the definition of qualifying as a PVP to be true seed to seed.
And then, in addition to those, there’s also oodles of patented (PVP) hybrids, and the problem with those is that they aren’t a good idea for seed saving.
Technically, you’re right. Sort of. But not entirely. There are potential pitfall seed savers need to be aware of but PVP seeds are actually required by law to be perfect for seed saving and it is legal to do so providing you pay for the first round (so to speak) and you are a private individual who isn’t using the future crops produced for anything except private, non-commercial consumption or further saving for the next season.
Whether or not they’re GMO, however, is another evil question that remains in askance. And that’s where you’re spot-on correct.
pdf page 19 of the USDA PVP Act
Sec. 42. Right to Plant Variety Protection; Plant Varieties Protectable.
(a) IN GENERAL.-The breeder of any sexually reproduced or tuber propagated plant variety (other than fungi or bacteria) who has so reproduced the variety, or the successor in interest of the breeder, shall be entitled to plant variety protection for the variety, subject to the conditions and requirements of this Act, if the variety is-
(4) stable, in the sense that the variety, when reproduced, will remain unchanged with regard to the essential and distinctive characteristics of the variety with a reasonable degree of reliability commensurate with that of varieties of the same category in which the same breeding method is employed.
pdf page 29, WRT infringement of Plant Variety Protection
(e) It shall not be an infringement of the rights of the owner of a variety to perform any act done privately and for noncommercial purposes.
and also on pdf page 29
Sec. 113. Right To Save Seed; Crop Exemption.
Except to the extent that such action may constitute an infringement under subsections (3) and (4) of section 111, it shall not infringe any right hereunder for a person to save seed produced by the person from seed obtained, or descended from seed obtained, by authority of the owner of the variety for seeding purposes and use such saved seed in the production of a crop for use on the farm of the person, or for sale as provided in this section. A bona fide sale for other than reproductive purposes, made in channels usual for such other purposes, of seed produced on a farm either from seed obtained by authority of the owner for seeding purposes or from seed produced by descent on such farm from seed obtained by authority of the owner for seeding purposes shall not constitute an infringement. A purchaser who diverts seed from such channels to seeding purposes shall be deemed to have notice under section 127 that the actions of the purchaser constitute an infringement. (7 U.S.C. 2543.)
The whole thing creates a loophole for home gardeners who are NOT selling the produce grown but are using it for their own individual use. Oh, and you can’t give anyone else the seeds YOU paid for because if you do you’re breaking the law by being an accomplice… to the person who gets the free seed THEY didn’t pay for… thus breaking the law.
The loophole they’re hanging the blown-pollen/seed cases on is the fact that the farmers didn’t pay for the first round (and they’re probably saving seed, are a commercial business, etc, etc) which is WRONG IMHO, but legal.
The whole thing is enough to give one a headache. It’s doubtless easier to avoid the whole mess and grow heirlooms. I know that’s the direction I’ve been going for a while now.
@Paul, growing heirlooms will not avoid the mess when their genetic junk comes in and crosses with heirlooms and O.P’s. Case in point I’m speaking from experience. =;-)
Yes I agree growing heirlooms and o.p. plants is better and we should really consider not partaking in GM,GE seeds. F-1’s is another case if you want to breed plants and make new variety’s that are sustainable year after year. I know a good bunch of people who are out breeding F-1’s and making a better crop from them than what the big boxed seed company’s made originally.
The idealism that genetic junk made by company’s that practice eugenics, that they will make a super food that will feed the whole world is complete and utter bull shit. It’s right up there with the Air Force and the military industrial complex’s theory of “we can win a war by bombing people out of tyranny and into freedom” (et el – Libya, Iraq, Afghanistan and other places of interest..)
In a nut shell its a pipe dream,(no offense to hotwired hopefully =;-D ) these genetic company’s had their go at it since a very long time & now here we are in 2011 and what have they to show? Nothing good and bad beyond our comprehension!
Corn and apples are not case studies in genetic modification. It was not possible for any genetic modification to occur on those (or any) crops in pre-modern times, because the lab tech for genetic modification had not yet been invented!
Random point, genetic modification could occur through mutation, but instances were rare and few survived evolution.
I am unfamiliar with the Zambia story, so I make this comment with that caveat.
The Future of Food and also The World According to Monsanto both cover the corn story in Oaxaca, Mexico. We could think of that area as the birthplace of corn. There is a lot of corn diversity and varieties are saved and handed down year to year, generation to generation.
Nobody in that family buys GMO seed. Nobody.
However, their seed has become contaminated with GMO strains. A large percentage of the seed now grown is showing signs of GMO contamination. Even though they don’t purchase Monsanto seed for growing, the people buy GMO seed to eat because (perversely) it is cheaper than their own homegrown seed thanks to the US system of ag subsidies to ag giants. Somehow feed corn got mixed with seed corn and now Gen Mod DNA is making its way through the native corn population.
This is frightening for several reasons.
- It threatens native plant biodiversity. The documentaries mention how strains of the native Mexican corns were instrumental in helping the US bounce back from a corn blight that took out massive amounts of monocultured hybrid corn in California and the SW a few years back. Scientists are getting good at protecting plants from known pathogens / insects, but Even the best scientists can’t predict what germs or super-pests are coming in the future. Wrong germ hits the right crop at the right time and BLAMMO we lose a whole food system in a few weeks (as happened in the infamous potato famine) because there are only a few varieties being grown. More diversity = better odds that some plants will survive and thrive.
- It puts the traditional farmers at the mercy of patent laws. I don’t know for sure how it works across national borders, but I’m pretty sure that any of the G9 nations, those involved with NAFTA or any of the WTO treaties are likely held liable under US patent law. We’ve already seen in the US and in Canada that Monsanto is very aggressive about protecting their patents, putting farmers right out of business even when the contamination is not their fault (through pollen drift).
That means any nation that plants GMO seed puts their entire crop system at risk of being financially beholden to Monsanto for eternity. You think Monsanto is going to give them seed out of the goodness of their hearts? That’s not the way capitalism works.
The very same GM corn which caused me multiple miscarriages, and the very same GM corn which nearly killed me.
Ah yes and I’ve seemed to found somethings to back up what you are saying:
Edited to add a post from Huff Post “green” (what ever it means I’ll have a few of my status friends explain that to me in the future..)
Any way here is the link:
You think Monsanto is going to give them seed out of the goodness of their hearts?
And why in the world would anyone take them? Well except the naive and gullible!
Grovespirit, thanks – this was posted before Territorial quit Seminis, and the OP was from 2008. Isn’t it fantastic what a little peer pressure can do!
I do not assume that signers of the Safe Seed Pledge are not selling Seminis seed.
The vast majority of the seed that Seminis stocks is non-GMO. The SSP simply states that signers agree not to sell GMO seed, as such it does not bar them from purchasing non-GMO seed Seminis owned Monsanto.
Those of us who wish to ensure that none of our dollars are going to Monsanto* need to look further than the SSP.
creme: In response to your ‘Random point’ about the history of corn and apples- ‘genetic modification could occur through mutation, but instances were rare and few survived evolution.’…
As you said, it would be an extreme long shot due to rarity of occurrence, and therefore probably did not even happen. Plus, this random point is pretty much an irrelevant and distracting tangent for purposes of this group discussion because, it ignores and muddies the standard scientific definition of genetic modification which is currently being used in Botany and ag sci.
“genetic modification Definition
the alteration and recombination of genetic material under laboratory conditions, resulting in transgenic organisms.” 1
Heck, even if you use the current, standard Biology definition of genetic modification, naturally occurring mutations still don’t qualify as genetic modification… See:
“Genetic modification: A technique where individual genes can be copied and transferred to another living organism to alter its genetic make up and thus incorporate or delete specific characteristics into or from the organism.” 2
According to these well-established, current definitions of genetic modification, any naturally occurring (pre-modern) mutation does not qualify as genetic modification because it does not occur in a lab, is not transgenic, and does not involve moving genes from one organism to another.
The standard definition of genetic modification currently in use both make it pretty clear that only artificially induced changes to the genetic material qualify as genetic modification.
Prior to modern times, during the eras in which humanity developed corn and apples from these plants’ wild predecessors, there was no way for anyone to artificially induce mutations.
Any naturally occurring mutations that may have arisen (but which very probably did not) while humankind developed corn and apples from wild plants, are not considered genetic modification – not according to the current standard definition of the term genetic modification.
Therefore, creme’s random point about pre-modern mutations is an obfuscating tangent, OT for purposes of this group discussion of GM.
Can we pretty please just stick to the current, well-established definitions for genetic modification, and genetic engineering, folks? Gets real tiresome, nigh impossible, to have a meaningfully clear discussion of any topic, if we can’t all stick to the same, standard definitions of said topic! :)
I can’t believe no one has brought up pharmacrops yet. In my humble opinion these are by far the worst, with the most potential to damage us and the environment.
It’s about time we’ve started turning the tables here. Organic farmers are gathering together to contest whether Monsanto truly has the right to sue farmers if their crops get tainted by Monsanto crops. I’ll be keeping an eye on this one.
Monsanto is calling it a publicity stunt, and even if it is – it’s well worth it to show what an evil empire they’ve become.
Here is more information on the lawsuit against the farmers by Monsanto
On January 31, 2012, 55 farmers and plaintiffs traveled to Manhattan to hear oral arguments regarding Monsanto’s motion to dismiss their lawsuit, Organic Seed Growers and Trade Association (OSGATA) vs. Monsanto filed earlier this summer.
At the heart of the lawsuit is the threat that family farmers face due to genetic trespass as a result of Monsanto’s genetically modified (GMO) seed and the aggressive enforcement of the biotech seed and chemical giant’s alleged patent rights. In court, Federal Judge Naomi Buchwald declared that she would rule on the motion to dismiss the trial or move forward in the next 60 days or by March 31st.
If you want to support America’s farmers, click here to say, “I Stand with Farmers vs. Monsanto!” — http://action.fooddemocracynow.org/sign/farmersvs_monsanto/
Whirligig: Thank you for editing Territorial Seed Company’s name off the list of seed merchants that sell Seminis Brand Seed. Here is additional updated information to the statement I made a couple years ago on this subject; the one you linked to above.
For several years Territorial extensivly trialed and evaluated seed selections specificially to find good suitable replacements for Seminis varieties. As alternative seed varieties were found we replaced Seminis items as we went along. This project finally came to a close last year, and the few remaining items replaced. As I previously stated, there are a few excellent items that a true replacment will never really be found. I will always honor the fine breeding work that the previous ownership to Monsanto did, especially from the Petoseed days. This group of traditional breeders actively bred new vegetable varieties for home gardeners and probably had more All America Selection winners than any group before or since. But going forward and into the future:
Territorial Seed Company DOES NOT SELL any Seminis Brand seed or any products from any Monsanto owned company.
Territorial happily remains a family owned company, by my wife and I.
Territorial Seed Company
Monsanto guilty of chemical poisoning in France
How to Avoid GMO/Monsanto
Who sells “safe seed” (not genetically modified)
Use this information as a starting point for your research. Call the companies you are interested in purchasing from and learn about their seed buying practices.
>> Visit this page, from the Council for Responsible Genetics. These companies have signed their safe seed pledge.
The following may be companies that sell only safe seed but have not signed the safe seed pledge (see link above).
Abundant Life Seeds
Annapolis Valley Heritage Seed Company (Nova Scotia, Canada)
Diane’s Flower Seeds
Garden City Seeds
Heirlooms Evermore Seeds
High Mowing Seeds
Lake Valley Seeds
Mountain Rose Herbs
Sand Hill Preservation Center
Seeds of Change
Sustainable Seed Co (added on request of the company)
Virtual Farm Seed Co (added on the request of the company)
Now, who to avoid?
These are companies currently, or at one time, known to sell seeds from Seminis and/or Monsanto. If you think a company doesn’t belong here, email with with information about the company’s seed practices. If they are supplied even in part by Seminis/Monsanto, they won’t be moved to the safe seed list.
Dege Garden Center
Earl May Seed
E & R Seed Co
Flower of the Month Club
Ferry Morse – For more information on Ferry Morse (I’m getting a TON of emails because they are also listed on the CRG page, please see my note on facebook)
Germania Seed Co
McClure and Zimmerman Quality Bulb Brokers
Mountain Valley Seed
Park’s Countryside Garden
Rocky Mountain Seed Co
Roots and Rhizomes
Seeds for the World
Seymour’s Selected Seeds
Spring Hill Nurseries
Tomato Growers Supply
Vermont Bean Seed Co.
The Vermont Bean Seed Company
Willhite Seed Co.
Seminis’ dealer list: http://us.seminis.com/products/hg_dealer.asp
Other helpful links:
Monsanto’s Seed Brands
Monsanto Vegetable Seeds
If it’s not broken don’t fix it.
CHANGING SEEDS, OR SEEDS OF CHANGE?
By Natalie DeGraaf
Recently, technological solutions to public health issues took on the form of a seed, bringing small farmers to a new crossroads between traditional forms of agriculture and industrial biotech agriculture. There is an extensive and sordid history of the impact that GM crops inflict upon nations, including the US, Argentina and India. Three predominant concerns arise with the integration of GM seeds into African agriculture, all feeding into larger public health priorities.
Seeds of Change was recently bought by Mars (M&M). Seeds of Change developed a line of organic candy, and Mars wanted to get into the organic candy business. Seeds of Change are still one of the good guys. Burpee, however, is a different story. It was recently purchased by George Ball, who is currently on the Board of Directors of Seminis and Peto Seeds, both of which are wholly owned by Monsanto.
Oops… I posted that a few months ago (above).
I have to bite my tongue and face the fact that Mars may not be quite the good guy that I said previously. In August 2010, Mars, Incorporated announced that it would close the El Guique “Research Farm” and move some management to Los Angeles. It turns out Mars considered the Farm as unjustified expense and organic seeds could be purchased from outside sources. I tried to contact my friend at Mars, and it turns out that there’s a new upper management at Mars which is restructuring the Company to create a more competitive position. I couldn’t get an answer on who their new sources of seeds were. They’re not releasing the information.
I am going to pull some info from this page for a swapping group on FB. There was a bit of a heated discussion about GMO this morning…apparently it is a touch y subject amongst gardeners? Never heard that. Everything is so relaxed here. A guy that is normally funny and friendly turned on a woman this morning for posting a link to a page that describes the difference between heirloom, hybrid and GMO, telling her that if she is going to post about seed companies she better be sure of her info before posting. Her info had nothing to do with seed companies. Oh well. Some people are just hot headed and there isn’t a darn thing you can do about it. But I thought that if I posted this, that might simmer him down, or cause me to draw some heat away from her…unless she wants to get involved in a fight, lol. I am game until the cuss words start flying and them I am OUT. :D
TropicanaRoses, I think it is terrible that this issue has managed to create such animosity between gardeners who are otherwise on the same page on most other matters. Especially since we will never know what the REAL truth is as far as seed companies are concerned. I know that I see the same varieties listed as hybrid in some catalogues, heirloom in others. And don’t even get me started on truths behind organic claims! As for myself, this is a big reason why I garden – so I have some level of control over my own food supply.
And I am with you on the cursing issue – once such language appears, the discussion has sunk to a level of rudeness that I do not care to be a part of. I see no reason people cannot remain civil toward each other, no matter how great their differences may be.
AGREED. I am posting this simply to put the info out there and put a beast to bed. I hope that that is what happens and that no further such animosity comes up. There is no need for it. people need to act in a more mature manner. It is amazing to me how quickly a conversation can turn to such base levels of communication. Thanks maggiemom!
Actually I love this forum because there isn’t any of that type of bickering. People are pretty civil here.
THat’s what I am saying hotwired. MyFolians seem to be for the most part a different breed of gardener. My swapping group on FB is a fun loving group whose “fun” is gardening and swapping, but there are a few rude people there. I think that most people here do not tollerate foul language, while in the FB group, to a certain degree hot headness is tolerated and foul language is acceptable, likely due in part to the founder who, while friendly, has a foul mouth. But she doesn’t always use it, it is a nice group otherwise, and so I remain. I have been a member of the group for a week or two, done some swapping, etc. But it is NOTHING like Folia. I love it here. :)
I don’t think that I have seen this posted at Folia yet, forgive me if I missed it…
Here is a list of vegetable varieties that are Monsanto owned…. A couple of the varieties they do not own exclusively… if you are buying seed or seedlings, you may want to ask whomever you are buying from if you are putting $$$ in Monsanto’s hands (fairly likely if you buy from the big box stores).
As a general statement I think what I like about Folians is that they cite their sources, learn from each other, cry and laugh at our stories… it’s like family only better!
So, this poses the question that if I run across some of the Monsanto owned varieties by any innocent donation to our VG project I will have to say I will embrace the diversity and educate with compare and contrast English 101 persuasive information. I can’t treat a live plant like the bastard child of Beelzebub. I will use it as an education tool. Good to think about that a head of time I suppose! I will have a seed saving section and education as it is so that may tie right in if the opportunity exists.
I ran across the list on A Garden for the House last week and it can easily cause panic. The key is to read the post and comments, not just look at the list. If you purchased some of those items from a reputable source (like Bakers Creek or Seed Savers – especially one that’s signed the Safe Seed Pledge) then you should be safe. Comments 32 & 33 sum it up nicely as well as the opening sentence: “IF YOU ARE THE KIND OF GARDENER who buys vegetable seeds or seedlings (including tomato plants) from a local garden center….” (i.e. a big box store).
Fedco Seed is all organic and is currently in a lawsuit with Monsanto. Their catalog is pretty crude, but their seeds are almost all heirloom and all organic.
Oh no—my fairytale eggplant, whose seed i purchased from the venerable and supposedly virtuous D. Landreth co, and which is particularly recommended for my cold climate, is on that list! Might as well grow it now.
bq. I ran across the list on A Garden for the House last week and it can easily cause panic. The key is to read the post and comments, not just look at the list. If you purchased some of those items from a reputable source (like Bakers Creek or Seed Savers – especially one that’s signed the Safe Seed Pledge) then you should be safe. Comments 32 & 33 sum it up nicely as well as the opening sentence: “IF YOU ARE THE KIND OF GARDENER who buys vegetable seeds or seedlings (including tomato plants) from a local garden center….” (i.e. a big box store).
I’m not sure I understand what you mean by “you should be safe.” Do you mean safe from purchasing genetically modified seed?
As far as I know, there are no GM vegetable seeds on the market for retail home gardeners. For me, I think for many, the point in avoiding Seminis/Monsanto seed is to prevent our money from supporting a company we find unethical, even dangerous. Boycotting those seed varieties and the people who sell them is one of the only tools most typical consumers have to fight the Big Ag giant.
As noted above, the Safe Seed pledge is somewhat misleading for those who wish to boycott companies whose purchasing policies support Seminis/Monsanto -since there are no GM seeds available for the retail market at this time.
What I’m saying is that if you want to avoid Monsanto and its Evil Empire, to purchase through reputable sellers that have agreed not to sell Monsanto, Seminis, and the others and avoid big box stores which probably do. This is a list of seeds that Monsanto sells and owns. They don’t necessarily own complete rights to these items, like the cucumber Marketmore variety mentioned.
“Farmer John”, in reply to that list, says it better than I can, “Just because Monsanto owns the variety, doesn’t mean they own the seed or profit from its proliferation. If it is grown organically by Baker Creek or High Mowing, etc., than they have their own seed stocks that they are managing and from which they benefit financially (not Monsanto.)”
Are you sure there are no GMOs available to the public? I have seen at least two types of GE squash that are supposedly available (Independence 2 and Declaration 2), but have not looked into who sells them.
I am totally with you on avoiding giving money to Monsanto and their ilk. My original post is over 2 years old and I haven’t kept up with it. I’m glad to see the conversation still going, but I hate to see that the Evil Empire still has a foothold on our seeds.
It’s probably not possible to avoid companies that deal with Monsanto. Sometime dancing with the devil is just a dance. At this point only commercial seed is GMO. The packets for the general public isn’t modified (yet).
whirligig, Thanks for the clarification. I would have understood better had I read the comments first. There’s a good conversation going on that blog (which incidentally highlight a need for a lot of education about some seed basics among the home gardening community).
Are you sure there are no GMOs available to the public? I have seen at least two types of GE squash that are supposedly available (Independence 2 and Declaration 2), but have not looked into who sells them.
I made that comment based on last year’s knowledge. Looks like there may be a couple of GM varieties out there, I’m gonna have to do more research. Surely, GM seeds will hit retail shelves in the next few years.
Good to know, you two. I’ll be keeping my eyes open as well and if I find anything I’ll be sure to share!
I know Face Book as a great anti – Monsanto network. Millions Against Monsanto. Updates state by state.