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Seed catalogs for the upcoming growing season are arriving in mailboxes across the Northern Hemisphere with home growers everywhere starting to plan which seeds they will sow in freshly composted garden. A positive trend in recent years is the growing number of gardening enthusiasts choosing to plant gardens using organic and/or heirloom seeds.
What most of these home gardeners don’t realize is that corporate behemoth and GMO titan Monsanto has been gobbling up the seed market faster than a caterpillar can munch a tomato plant! With one fell swoop in 2005, Monsanto grabbed approximately 40% of the US vegetable seed market with its acquisition of Seminis.
This means that a home gardener could unknowingly be supporting the development and proliferation of genetically modified crops if the seeds used are from Seminis. In addition, Monsanto now apparently owns the trademark for many of the names of the heirloom seed varieties themselves!
Planting a sustainable home garden is much more than just choosing certified organic seeds and seedlings, eschewing pesticides/herbicides and using organic compost. This is because Monsanto has cleverly positioned itself to make money off the home gardening trend.
Does this mean that even if you buy organic or heirloom seeds from a completely independent company some of your purchase might be supporting the bad guys?
Yes, it does.
Home gardeners would do well to bone up on where to purchase their seeds so they aren’t inadvertently doing business with companies that maintain a working relationship with Monsanto-Seminis or were acquired by them.
Buying Organic or Heirloom Seeds Without Supporting Monsanto
Here are the recommended steps for the 2014 growing season for those who want to truly strike a blow for sustainability in every way with their home gardens:
Avoid buying from the seed companies affiliated with Monsanto. Here’s a list of these seed companies by location (enter you zipcode for a list of dealers to avoid).
- Buy from companies Monsanto HASN’T bought and are not affiliated or do business with Seminis: The graphic above indicates numerous companies that are worthy of your patronage as compiled by the International Seed Saving Institute. Please note that this many not be a complete list. If your seed company does not appear, just be sure to clarify with the owner about any potential affiliation with Monsanto-Seminis before buying from them.
- Avoid buying heirloom varieties for which Monsanto owns the trademark.
- Ask seed companies if they have taken the Safe Seed Pledge. Here’s a list of companies that have taken the Safe Seed Pledge and believe in responsible plant genetics. These are good companies to buy from.
Background on Monsanto’s Quest for World Seed Domination
Monsanto’s corporate quest is clearly to make money on each and every one of us whether we choose to eat supermarket frankenfoods produced with abominable, patented GM crops or carefully plant and tend an organic garden at home. Here’s some background information on the subject you may find interesting as well as enlightening:
If you are a home gardener and have information to contribute regarding these steps, please add to the discussion in the comments section. Also, please spread the word via gardening forums you may participate in that folks need to be very careful when seed sourcing for their spring gardens this year else they might be unknowingly supporting Monsanto.
Let’s make this the year when Monsanto’s grip on the worldwide seed market loosens and the movement to seed sustainability gains momentum!
The day after this article was originally published in 2013, the CEO of a large GMO soybean seed company in the Midwest emailed me complaining that the article was short-sighted and insisting that Monsanto is helping feed the starving people of the world. He even went so far as to say that GMO crops are “proven safe”. Click here for the text of this CEO’s entire email plus my written reply.
I have also received email complaints from two other seed companies, one in Canada and one in Arkansas, that do business with Monsanto-Seminis and were offended by what they viewed as inaccuracies in the post. In response, I have adjusted the text slightly and moved linked sources to within the text rather than only listed at the end to make the message of the post as clear and precise as possible so as to not result in any consumer confusion over the information.
I have received no complaints about this article from seed companies completely independent of any affiliation or ties to Monsanto-Seminis.
Why I Avoid Organic Hydroponic Produce
The Hydroponic Invasion of USDA Organic
Heirloom vs Hybrid Produce
Annie’s has been bought out by a General Mills–Monsanto company!! Do not buy seeds from them. Burpee is not owned by Monsanto, but carries seeds (even heirloom) that Monsanto owns. Do your homework and look at dates on articles.
richard j ghilon
Most people don’t know or have any idea what agent orange is. I’ve been suffering from Agent Orange since I was in the Marine Corps in Vietnam. Monsanto company was using Agent Orange in their products because the agent orange can defoliate anything that comes in its path. Check it out I read the container and it seems like there might have been a lot of complaints because once in awhile I find Roundup weed killer without the agent orange so someone must have complained about the use of Agent Orange. I wish people knew the dangers of Agent Orange I had Agent Orange dumped in the area I was working in Vietnam. Well on Patrols with my Marine Buddies a lot of that Agent Orange got on us when the government was told by Monsanto that they had a great weed killer that they could use in Vietnam to lessen the foilage and I know for a fact that it worked really good. Everything within its reach died and I mean everything. I have been suffering from diabetes and Parkinson’s disease that was proven to come from the agent orange Monsanto produced. I have all kinds of problems from that agent orange besides Parkinson teeth falling out bad vision and pains all over my body. I take a lot of medication. Enough medication to fill a cereal bowl like the ones your kids use at breakfast time. That is a lot of medicine to use in one week. I could name all of the medications I have to take so I’m able to function properly but there are so many it would fill up your entire website with the names. Please warn people of the dangers that I am dying from. It’s a slow painful death. And I have had this problem from when I served in Vietnam. That’s a lot of years of suffering and trying to walk right see the teeth I have all six of them. I don’t talk right I make I make Miss Miss tubes all the time in my writing and texting caused by brain damage. I struggle everyday to function.
Speaking of soybeans and Florida, Marjon Foods out of Plant City, FL uses tricky packaging to try and fool people. Their shelled edamame product has the label “No GMO…” Below the words “No GMO,” in tiny little letters too small for most to read unaided, is the word “ingredients.” So the label says “No GMO ingredients.” Seeing as how they list soybeans as the only ingredient, this raises an alert eyebrow. It also says it’s vegan, but this is misleading as well since it’s not certified vegan, and some vegans consider GMO foods unethical.
The reason I post this is that you will find Marjon products in the “Organic” or “Natural” section of places like Publix, where countless people shop each year (if you’ve ever lived in Florida, you know people there love Publix).
Please say vigilant out there!
I will walk to the ends of the earth to NOT buy seeds from Monsanto. Never, will I purchase them from that evil company OR ANY AFFILIATE.
Local Seedy Saturdays in your community in the spring are the way to go. Seeds are so important. Imagine, monsanto is spraying the skies with aluminum and now they producing aluminum GM seeds. Seeds that will grow in aluminum laden soils. They are one of the biggest problems on the planet. If you use the pythagorean number value system, monsanto equals 666.
Hillary and Monsanto we partners. They contributed to her campaign big time.
Thanks to Sarah for this article. I work at a big box hardware store out of desperation, and I do everything I can to steer people away from products produced by Monsanto or their holdings, like Scott’s (Miracle Grow). It’s amazing how little people know about this company. Personally, I avoid any Monsanto product or “co-product,” such as Miracle Gro, EcoScraps, Burpee Seeds, Bonnie Plants (ever see their ads?), etc. The goal of the Neoliberals that have invaded our government and dominate large corporations is to privatize everything and charge you as much as possible while simultaneously trying to convince you they are anything but profiteering monsters they are.
Like the article says, find a local grower, seed company/cooperative or gardening club that supports sustainable practices. They can help you find seeds for the crops you love to grow, and you’ll know you’re helping reduce the power of corporations at the same time!!
Monsanto will say anything to cover their asses. theyve lied and lied and lied and been caught in pretty much all of them (the ones we know about) yet people i talk to at my job do not seem to give a damn about what they put in their bodies let alone their kids. literally. upon me asking “organic or non organic? they usually say “oh i don’t care” or “where is the miracle-gro?”… the ones who ask what the difference is usually gets a list of reasons not to buy anything from miracle gro or bonnie plants or any monsanto affiliate, as impossible as thats getting now… but i usually just summarize how the rapidly growing starter plants look nice for instant gratification and people who just dont take the time to LEARN…but honestly i wouldnt plant them anywhere near me or my neighbors or my neighbors neighbor. sometimes ill tell them “oh those veggies are just for looks, not fit for human consumption” that usually raises a brow. also dashes the enthusiasm of these naive suburban families who go to the store with lots of $ and walk out looking like f**king miracle-gro representatives… its very clear that this first try garden will not work out for you this year and it will probably ruin growing your families own food for you for the rest of your lives all because you dont know how to use google and also this ridiculous mindset that a company that works agroculture couldnt possibly ever do any wrong…. right? corperations are absolutely out for our best interest… *cough cough* sorry thats just the fertlizer dust gettn to me
B. Stockwell (Vermont)
Great article. I was looking up the locally-owned company, High Mountain Seeds, I buy my seeds from. I was shocked to find stories about how Monsanto has become a sort of invasive species. Happily, “my” little company is not on Monsanto’s list. Still, I’ll talk with the hardware/farming store I buy my seeds from. High Mountain Seeds has one small rack in the store. Burpee, a Monsanto entity, takes up about 20 feet of floor space.
Mesin Aduk Bumbu
Gardening is really good specially if you have your own space or plot to take care the veggies in the backyard. It is sad that a blatant act of aggressive control of the world’s supply is very rampant nowadays, one day there will be chaos in this planet. Monopoly even in food production is very visible wherever you go, I just hope that organic farming will be more prioritize than giant companies who use chemicals.
Hello, does Donald Trump’s support Monsantos?, and since Monsanto produces so many seeds which turns into food why are there still people starving to death in the world?