I’m standing in my kitchen scraping the seeds out of a freshly cut watermelon, when I noticed the small mound of seeds that had accumulated on the counter from the green peppers and apple slices waiting to be thrown out, when I wondered, “what would I do if I couldn’t buy seeds any more?” You know, like the world as we know it type thing?
My thoughts went back to the first time I purchased seed packets and how shocked I was at the amount of seeds you actually got in a pack. Six, maybe ten? At first I thought there was a hole in the packet. That was until I opened the others and they had the same piddly amount. Six seeds for three bucks? Geeze!
Well I chocked the experience up to the same one I had when I went to purchase a dress pattern for 75 cent – I know, I know, things are more expense now. But that much?
Back to seeds.
Like usual, I decided to do a little research on how to save your own seeds and in doing so stumbled on a topic that well, scared the daylights outta me.
Did you know - that virtually every large mail-order garden company in the United States uses a seed broker to supply them with stock? The seeds aren't even theirs!
I keep digging.
I learn that Monsanto (yes the pesticide company) purchased Seminis in January of 2005, and is now estimated to control between 85 and 90 percent of the U.S. nursery market.
“So.” you say? “Good for them.” Perhaps.
But the ‘so what’ to me, is by gobbling up the competition, dominating genetic technology (yes they are genetically altering seeds so that they last longer in transport and still look ripe once they get to their destinations), and lobbying the government to make saving seeds illegal, Monsanto is positioning itself to be the Grand Poobah in garden seeds (among other things.)
Did you notice where I said, “lobbying the government to make saving seeds illegal”? Saving your own seeds! The stuff that we usually scrape out and discard may be illegal to save for future use?
That’s like Clairol hair products saying you can’t save the hair from your hair brush! (No I don’t do this, but I could – if it’s still legal.)
Under Monsanto's ‘Roundup Ready’ label, their corn is now planted in nearly 80 percent and their soybean in 93 percent of the U.S. farmland, using genetics that help crops fight off pests and withstand weed-killing treatments. Sounds yummy huh? That pretty much takes up the bulk of the farmland now doesn't it?
So, who are the other knights of the round table along with Monsanto? Well let’s see, there’s DuPont, Mitsui, Syngent, Aventis, and Dow, who combined, control 98 percent of the world's seeds. Yes, I said world.
And to make matters worse? Before Seminis was obtained by Monsanto, they eliminated 2,000 of their older, open-pollinated, heirloom varieties of seeds from its inventory because they are not patented or genetically modified, and therefore not profitable. Let me help you with the numbers - in 1981 there were approximately 5,000 vegetable seed varieties available in U.S. catalogs, today there are less than 500. 4,500 have been eliminated.
You say, all this has to do with farmers.
Think so? Senate Bill S 510 Food Safety Modernization Act vote would outlaw gardening and saving seeds. Some say it’s "the most dangerous bill in the history of the United States of America." This bill would grant the U.S. government new authority over the public's right to grow, trade and transport any foods!
And get this! Your garden could be policed by (drum roll please …) the Department of Homeland Security!!! The same ones who scan us at the airport!!! Scary thought!
The U.S. government could arrest any personal gardener as a criminal for growing vegetables and selling them or saving seeds.
Let this be your warning girly-girls.
Before this happens, we need to learn how to save our seeds.
It’s pretty easy actually. Just scrap your seeds and place them on news paper or paper towel in a warm, dry location for about a week or so. Once they are dry, put the seeds in an envelope and date them with the type of seed and put them in a cool dark place. That’s it!
Now, don’t be a seed-less fruit! Start saving your seeds! Just sayin'.
- Survivor Jane
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