Seeds

Democracy needs gardeners! My liberating DIY revolution…


image

From SALON

When my husband and I first moved to our house in downtown Raleigh, N.C., nine years ago, we were fascinated by the empty lot between our 1890s Victorian and the neighbor’s bungalow. “That’s where the victory garden used to be,” my neighbors said, pointing to a slightly shaded quarter of an acre. This garden existed, of course, before the Krispy Kreme was built and the drunks used to sip 40s and eat glazed doughnuts behind our fence.

I’d never thought about the patriotism of gardening, and I didn’t again until we moved to Vermont and inherited two enormous gardens and a small orchard. God, I thought.  Those look like a lot of work.

And they are.

But five years later I’m obsessed. I read seed catalogs cover-to-cover, the way I used to look at fashion magazines in college, my hungry gaze raking over the pages: Can this knowledge change my life?  When the catalogs show up in the mail stack at the end of January it feels like an omen, a promise that spring will indeed come, that months from now we will sit at the outdoor picnic table with dinner plucked from the backyard: panzanella with crisp cucumbers and sharp red onions, blueberry and arugula salads, sandwiches piled with flame-colored heirloom tomatoes and smoky roasted eggplant.

Open Pollinated: Seeds of Value…


Red Knight Mizuna hybrid open pollenated

From CHUCK BURR
Restoration Seeds

An open pollinated (OP) seed is a seed of value as it can grow into a plant true to the plant it was saved from. OP seeds are fertilized naturally by insects, birds, wind or their structure. Many of our seeds are heirlooms that can trace their lineage back before 1951 when hybrid seeds and chemical sprays became widely adopted.

Open pollinated seeds are your seed freedom. Without the ability to save seed, your food sovereignty is lost. The right to grow your own safe and nutritious food

As Challenge over Seed Rights Approaches Supreme Court, New Report Exposes Devastating Impact of Monsanto Practices on U.S. Farmers…


seed-giants

From CENTER FOR FOOD SAFETY

Washington, D.C. – February 12, 2013 – Center for Food Safety and Save Our Seeds Investigate Role of Seed Patents in Consolidating Corporate Control of Global Food Supply

Today, one week before the Supreme Court hears arguments in Bowman v. Monsanto Co., the Center for Food Safety (CFS) and Save our Seeds (SOS) – two legal and policy organizations dedicated to promoting safe, sustainable food and farming systems – will launch their new report, Seed Giants vs. U.S. Farmers.

The new report investigates how the current seed patent regime has led to a radical shift to consolidation and control of global seed supply and how these patents have abetted corporations, such as Monsanto, to sue U.S. farmers for alleged seed patent infringement.

Seed Giants vs. U.S. Farmers also examines broader socio-economic consequences of the present patent system including links to loss of seed innovation, rising seed prices, reduction of independent scientific inquiry, and environmental issues.

Debbie Barker, Program Director for Save Our Seeds and Senior Writer for the Report, said today:  “Corporations did not create seeds and many are challenging the existing patent system that allows private companies to assert ownership over a resource that is vital to survival, and that, historically, has been in the public domain.”

Among the report’s discoveries are several alarming statistics:

  • As of January 2013, Monsanto, alleging seed patent infringement, had filed 144 lawsuits involving 410 farmers and 56 small farm businesses in at least 27 different states.
  • Today, three corporations control 53 percent of the global commercial seed market.
  • Seed consolidation has led to market control resulting in dramatic increases in the price of seeds.

Planting Rebellion: Seed-saving as a subversive act…


From TWILIGHT GREENAWAY
Grist

“In the course of getting a plate of food to our table, we’re paying a lot of attention to the farmer, the chef, the farmers market — all of that is as it should be, but we pay very little attention to the thing that starts it all, the seed.” That sentiment comes from Janisse Ray, farmer and author of the new book The Seed Underground: A Growing Revolution to Save Food.

And it’s true; for many of us, seeds are a mysterious, invisible piece of the food puzzle. While we’re busy thinking about how to fix our food economies, seeds often slip through the cracks. And we’ve lost an almost unfathomable amount of genetic diversity as a result; depending on whom you ask, anywhere between 75 to 95 percent of our fruit and vegetable varieties have been lost for good. Highly functional, often bland, hybridized and genetically engineered varieties have taken over the commercial market — as opposed to the more delicate, complex heirloom varieties with stories and names attached, such as Dragon Tongue beans, Country Gentleman sweet corn, and May Queen lettuce — and Monsanto, Dupont, and Syngenta now own over half of the world’s seeds.

So, you might say Ray’s book has appeared just in time. In it, she makes a compelling argument for seed-saving as a subversive act that has the potential to undermine industrial agribusiness and takes readers to the farms and gardens of people around the country who are growing, collecting, and swapping seeds.

“Our grandparents and great-grandparents were caretakers of seeds. Now we rent them,” she told me in a recent interview. Eighty-eight percent of corn is genetically engineered, for instance, says Ray, and it has been engineered so that it’s impossible to save.

Doomsday Seed Banking…


20120628-215305.jpg

From JANISSE RAY
The Seed Underground:
A Growing Revolution to Save Food (2012)
Excerpt

When they want you to buy something, they will call you. When they want you to die for profit, they will let you know. So, friends, every day, do something that won’t compute. ~Wendell Berry

In 2008, Norway finished construction of a strange structure that reporters began to call the Doomsday Vault. Norwegians bored a tunnel into a solid-stone mountain in the permafrost on an island some seven hundred miles south of the North Pole and lined it with a meter’s width of reinforced concrete. They, essentially, built a structure to last forever. They built it to withstand just about anything.

Why would Norway and its global partners build such a thing? To answer this question, we have to imagine scenarios that might precipitate the need to replenish foodstuffs globally. Suppose genetic engineering goes wild. Suppose a comet hits the earth. Suppose climate change rearranges agriculture as we currently practice it. Suppose seas rise?

The global seed bank was built to withstand even climate change. The tunnel was positioned high on a mountainside, 430 feet above sea level—130 feet higher than seawater is expected to rise in global warming’s worst-case scenario, even if the polar icecaps melt. Tsunami waters won’t reach it.

Certified Organic, Open-Pollinated, Heirloom Seeds now available at Half Price or less from Mulligan Books & Seeds…


Underground Seed Co.

Certified Organic Seeds-By-Hand

From DAVE SMITH
Ukiah

Here is a comparison of Imported-from-Vermont High Mowing Organic Seeds-By-Packet prices and local California-Grown Underground Organic Seeds-By-Hand prices…



Underground Seed Co. is a project of Mulligan Books & Seeds
~

Occupy Monsanto: The seed is the foundation of civilization and of democracy…


From ANNA LEKAS MILLER
Alternet

Activists, Farmers Fight the Corporation They Fear Will Take Over All America‘s Crops

Monsanto, if you will, is the 1 percent of Big Agriculture–the scourge of small farmers everywhere. But now those farmers are fighting back, backed by activists from Occupy Wall Street.

First, some history. In 1982, Monsanto scientists were the first to genetically modify a plant cell. Three years later, the US Patent Office ruled that plants were a patentable subject matter.

By 1985, Monsanto had already become a corporate giant by creating RoundUp, the most popular herbicide in the world. Now that it had the legal protection of seed patents in addition to the biotechnology to genetically manipulate its seeds, Monsanto scientists engineered a specific brand of Monsanto seeds that were RoundUp-resistant—unlike organic, natural seeds, these seeds are sterile and have to be re-planted each year, ensuring that customers return year after year to replenish their supply.

In order to achieve a monopoly over the market, and keep farmers from saving their own seed as they have done for centuries, Monsanto begin to purchase as many seeds as possible—spending $8 billion and acquiring over 20 seed companies over the past decade alone. Today, Monsanto controls 93 percent of soybean crops, 86 percent of corn crops, 93 percent of cotton crops, and 93 percent of canola seed crops in the United States alone.

Monsanto is far from finished. To continue its corporate monopoly and push more seeds off the market, Monsanto specifically targets organic farmers, often testing their crops without permission. If the crops are resistant to RoundUp, Monsanto’s signature pesticide, Monsanto sues the farmer for patent infringement.

In many instances, pollen from a neighboring farm growing Monsanto’s genetically modified crops can migrate to an organic farm, contaminating its crops. In addition to losing these crops and losing important organic buyers due to this genetic trespass, many organic farmers face undeserved, crippling lawsuits from Monsanto that force them into debt, bankruptcy

Vandana Shiva: We learn from the seed…


…the first thing we do here on the farm is save seeds… more than 1,500 varieties, and we grow them out for the future. It is also a place where farmers come to get seeds.

In addition, it is an organic farm, an ecological farm. It was a desert when we started. As we have practiced organic farming the soil is alive, the pollinators have come back… it has bacome a biodiversity sanctuary…

Our research shows that ecological systems can produce 2 to 5 times more food per acre than the industrial monocultures… the the lie of industrial farming, the lie of genetic engineering has been put to rest by the loving practices of this farm…

We learn from the seed, renewal… we learn from the seed, generosity… we learn from the seed multiplicity… we learn from the seed diversity…

The emergency of saving seeds is because seed has now been appropriated and colonized. Corporations have declared it is their intellectual property. And the only way they can get intellectual property is by modifying and mutilating through genetic engineering… we have to defend life, we have to defend freedom,  and that’s why we save seeds…

I have hope, because I have deep trust in the earth… she is more resilient than all actions. I have deep trust in people and the irrepressible urge for freedom and happiness…
~~

Seed Pledge from Mendocino County’s Own: Sustainable Seed Company and Underground Seed Company…


GMOs: World’s Greatest Scam

Fear Not Fine Folks! Our Seeds Are Safe!

shovel Sustainably Grown Means…

  • We do not knowingly grow OR buy seed that is surrounded by GM crops.
  • We do not buy seed from foreign seed companies. We support local seed houses, farmers and their families. When you buy seed from us you are supporting American farm families and companies.
  • We don’t chemically treat our seeds and since we don’t buy from out of country the USDA does not treat our seed like many seed companies. Don’t assume that if a company uses the word “heirloom” that it is grown here in the US. In fact we get hundreds of emails from companies in China and India trying to sell us cheap “heirloom” seed. Where does you seed company get it’s seed from?
  • We farm in a sustainable, water conscious and environmentally responsible manner.

One of the major purposes of this heirloom organic seed company is genetic preservation of heritage open pollinated seeds. We believe it is every person’s right to control and grow their own food. We pledge that we do not knowingly buy or sell genetically engineered seeds or plants. Unlike other seed companies (click & discover who…it might surprise you), we will not buy ANY seed from Seminis, a Monsanto owned subsidiary (Click here to learn more about Monsanto).

Heirloom seeds belong in the hands of people, not nameless, faceless corporations that we feel don’t have our best interests at heart. Corporations that lobby our government so that GM food goes unlabeled in stores for example. We may not know what is in a box of cereal, but you can trust we will not be buying their seed. With this you have the ability to grow your own clean food for your family.

Monsanto says hello to home gardeners…


From GOOD FOOD WORLD

Who needs “Better living with chemistry” when you have “Better breeding with Monsanto?”

If you thought that planting your own garden and growing and harvesting your own crops would keep you safe from the long arm of Monsanto, think again!

The agribusiness giant already has quietly stepped into the marketplace with commercial and consumer vegetable seeds, says the LA Times in Monsanto sprouting a produce-seed line.

Monsanto moved into the vegetable seed business in 2005 when it acquired Seminis Inc., Oxnard CA. Since then, it has bought four other vegetable seed companies and staffed 57 research centers around the world with seed geneticists and agricultural researchers.

Revenue from Monsanto’s vegetable seed business totaled $895 million for the company’s fiscal year that ended Aug. 31. That’s about 8% of its annual revenue, a figure the company hopes to grow steadily in coming years.

That long arm reaches even further; the company also breeds and sells organic seed.

Sue McGann, coordinator at Marra Farm in Seattle, turned down a donation of organic vegetable seed when she learned it came from one of Monsanto’s subsidiaries. Martha Baskin, Green Acre Radio, visits the farm and explores the issue with Sue

Seeds are a source of wonder…



From VICTOR R. BOSWELL
science-in-farming.library4farming.org
Photos by Dave Smith

Many seeds are so small that their beautiful features escape us. Many others, although large enough to see easily, are such common, everyday objects that we do not really see them. They are, however, worth our careful observation.

The first and most obvious beauty in most true seeds is in the perfection of their simple forms. Their outlines or silhouettes exhibit endless variations in the curve of beauty. In their entirety, too, we find wide ranges of proportion and different graceful and simple masses that are pleasing to look upon.

The sphere is a thing of beauty in itself, although quite unadorned. Artists have tried to produce nonspherical “abstract” forms that possess such grace and proportion as to call forth a satisfying emotional or intellectual response in the beholder. Some of the nicest of such forms lie all about us, unnoticed, in seeds. The commonest are such basic forms as the sphere, the teardrop, and the ovoid and other variations of the spheroid.

One seed at a time, protecting the future of food



From TED
Video here

The varieties of wheat, corn and rice we grow today may not thrive in a future threatened by climate change. Cary Fowler takes us inside a vast global seed bank, buried within a frozen mountain in Norway, that stores a diverse group of food-crop for whatever tomorrow may bring…

From a comment…

Whether or not Monsanto controls the distribution of these seeds is only more pressingly relevant when we are not considering our ability to, with time, grow our own seeds and store our own seeds.

Yes, the stability and comfort of a bank museum is profound and appropriate. However, if we participate directly in our seed and food production, we will build and adapt our seed reality to each local region (freezing is only mandatory for long term storage, as has been mentioned). Even if our participation is limited to the support of local production, through a continued financial contribution. Participation is the key.

In many cases, financially supporting the declining number of local, organic, heirloom seed farms is in-fact, most helpful. In part due to the financial difficulties of non-subsidized agriculture and likelihood we do not have the space, time, or motivation to grow ourselves.

However, it is essential to have, not everyone, but more people growing. Seeing as not any one farm can produce a sufficient supply and diversity of crops on one piece of property. Farmers must consider the isolation distance, pollination vector, proximity to gm pollen, crop failure, labor force, subsidies, so on, and so forth, of each variety. Point being, this is a community movement. A world community movement involving one of our low-common denominators as a human species. Our food.

Whether or not we choose to participate in the production of our source fuel does not eliminate our dependance on it’s consumption.
~

Script of talk…

I’ve been fascinated with crop diversity for about 35 years from now, ever since I stumbled across a fairly obscure academic article by a guy named Jack Harlan. And he described the diversity within crops

Monsanto Squeezes Out Seed Business Competition


Certified Organic Apache Red Corn
Photo: Dave Smith

From AP

ST. LOUIS — Confidential contracts detailing Monsanto Co.’s business practices reveal how the world’s biggest seed developer is squeezing competitors, controlling smaller seed companies and protecting its dominance over the multibillion-dollar market for genetically altered crops, an Associated Press investigation has found.

With Monsanto’s patented genes being inserted into roughly 95 percent of all soybeans and 80 percent of all corn grown in the U.S., the company also is using its wide reach to control the ability of new biotech firms to get wide distribution for their products, according to a review of several Monsanto licensing agreements and dozens of interviews with seed industry participants, agriculture and legal experts.

Declining competition in the seed business could lead to price hikes that ripple out to every family’s dinner table. That’s because the corn flakes you had for breakfast, soda you drank at lunch and beef stew you ate for dinner likely were produced from crops grown with Monsanto’s patented genes.

Monsanto’s methods are spelled out in a series of confidential commercial licensing agreements obtained by the AP. The contracts, as long as 30 pages, include basic terms for the selling of engineered crops resistant to Monsanto’s Roundup herbicide, along with shorter supplementary agreements that address new Monsanto traits or other contract amendments.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 4,555 other followers