Chronicles of Less Urban Living, Fresh from In the Night Farm

Growing Pains

I am not Catholic.  I am pissed off.  I am giving up Monsanto for Lent.

This is Day 8.

The food I trust most is the food I grow myself.

This year, I’m more excited than ever to see In the Night Farm’s extensive garden space freshly tilled and waiting for a few more weeks of warmth to replace our frosty, Idaho nights.  Rhubarb and onions have already unfurled from the earth.  My cold-weather annuals — kale and snow peas — can be planted this weekend.  I might even risk half a packet of salad greens in the hope of an early harvest. 

I’m just one of many gardeners and small-time farmers eager to replace supermarket vegetables with homegrown fare.  Hours and sweat are a hefty, but worthy, price to pay for guaranteed organic, non-GMO, Monsanto-free produce.

But is it guaranteed?  Not necessarily. 

Here’s Monsanto’s list of seed brands.  Unless you live in agricultural country, most of the names are likely unfamiliar.  But look under “vegetable seed brands.”  See Seminis?  They provide seed to some very familiar vendors:  Burpee, Park Seed, J.W. Jung Seed, Germania, and many others that are making their way from garden centers to neighborhoods as we speak.

Fortunately, the internet is full of lists like this one, and a brief search will put you in touch with scores of sources for organic, heirloom seed.  My favorite is Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds, a company with a conscience, a massive selection, rapid shipping, reasonable prices, excellent customer service, and a free seed packet with every order.

Unfortunately, even buying from a reputable  company may not be enough.  Consider contamination.  Can you be sure the heirloom seed you saved from last year wasn’t cross-pollinated by your neighbor’s Burpee bounty?  It may not be GMO (yet), but it’s still Monsanto.  You have to wonder.

As for GMO cross-contamination, there’s no question that mutant crops have infected the globe.  Ask Percy Schmeiser.

Extra Credit: The Global Spread of GMO Crops by Peter Montague and Organic Seeds Increasingly in Danger of GMO Contamination from Nutrition Business Journal.

Read all posts in the Monsanto Project Series.


2 responses

  1. I was very excited to order from Baker’s Creek last year. The seed I ordered was sold out, I didn’t get a refund and I haven’t heard a word from them this year indicating that my seed choice will be sent to me. That was very disappointing to me!

    I too trust stuff I raise here myself more than anything, but I haven’t much hope for GMO free seed. I live in Illinois, the heart of soybean and corn country. A great number of my neighbors garden and I’d be surprised to find truly non GMO seed. It’s a vicious thing that I’m afraid can’t be contained.

    March 16, 2011 at 3:15 pm

    • Oh, no! Sorry you had a bad experience. 😦 I’ve purchased seed from Baker Creek for years and had nothing but excellent service. I think they’ve taken care of the sold-out issue, because when you order online, the site will tell you if a particular variety is gone. (I’ve gotten refunds in the past, along with extra freebies for the inconvenience.)

      I fear you’re right about GM being beyond control aready.

      March 16, 2011 at 3:56 pm

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