When buying seeds, which turns into food our family's eat, we want to make sure that those seeds are not associated with Bayer/Monsanto, or any of their subsidiaries, like Seminis. Each of the following seed companies below have taken the Safe Seed Pledge and tested their stock to be free of GMOs.
What is The Safe Seed Pledge?
Signing the Safe Seed Pledge is voluntary and unregulated, but it's a very safe bet that any company that has signed the pledge is committed to the cause. It reads:
"Agriculture and seeds provide the basis upon which our lives depend. We must protect this foundation as a safe and genetically stable source for future generations. For the benefit of all farmers, gardeners and consumers who want an alternative,
"We pledge that we do not knowingly buy or sell genetically engineered seeds or plants."
The mechanical transfer of genetic material outside of natural reproductive methods and between genera, families or kingdoms, poses great biological risks as well as economic, political, and cultural threats. We feel that genetically engineered varieties have been insufficiently tested prior to public release. More research and testing is necessary to further assess the potential risks of genetically engineered seeds. Further, we wish to support agricultural progress that leads to healthier soils, genetically diverse agricultural ecosystems and ultimately healthy people and communities."
What are Heirloom Seeds?
The term “heirloom” has increased in popularity in recent years, but what exactly does it mean? “Heirloom” describes a seed’s heritage, specifically a documented heritage of being passed down from generation to generation within a family or community. An heirloom variety of vegetable, fruit, or flower must be open-pollinated—or pollinated by insects, birds, wind, or other natural means—and “breed true,” or retain its original traits from one generation to the next.
What is GMO and why should you care?
Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) These plants/seeds have been modified in a laboratory to enhance desired traits such as increased resistance to herbicides. By introducing foreign genes into food plants this could have a negative impact on human health.
The process of genetic engineering that brings about GMO food: DNA strands are cultured in a bacterium and inserted into the host plant’s nucleus using a virus. “Bacterium” and “virus” are not the kinds of things people want associated with their food.
Most GMO plants produced and consumed in the US today are those that allow for resistance to a specific herbicide – Monsanto’s Roundup. Roundup Ready soy, corn, and beets grow from seeds that have been genetically modified to grow even when glyphosate weed killer (Roundup’s scientific name) is applied to them. Meaning most (if not all) GMO crops (and seeds) have been sprayed by these chemicals and being ingested by lots of people.
Sustainable Seed is a family owned Seed Company that provides gardeners with over 875 varieties of organic and heirloom seeds. Many of their seeds were grown right on their own farm to ensure maximum quality and germination rates. Their mission is to encourage a sustainable lifestyle and to promote organic heirloom seed gardening.
Since 1975, Seed Savers Exchange has protected the biodiversity of our food system—and our planet—by preserving rare, heirloom, and open-pollinated varieties of seeds in our seed bank at Heritage Farm and encouraging gardeners and farmers worldwide to grow, harvest, and share heirloom seeds as well as recount the inspirational stories behind them.
Baker Creek is afamily-owned businessoffering agorgeouscatalog and website with over 1,800 varieties of vegetables, flowers and herbs—one of the largest selections of heirloom varieties in the U.S.
Baker Creek also carries one of the largest selections of seeds from the19th century, including many Asian and European varieties. They also specialize in rare and hard-to-find heirloom seeds from over 75 different countries. The company’s mission is to promote and preserve our agricultural and culinary heritage.
Clear Creek Seeds guarantees they will never buy or sell genetically modified seeds. (actually only commercial growers can get GMO seeds). Also, their packets are made of special material which will not leach harmful chemicals & are resealable for future use.
Southern Exposure Seed Exchange offers more than 700 varieties of vegetable, flower, herb, grain and cover crop seeds. They emphasize varieties that perform well in the Mid-Atlantic and Southeast, and offer many unusual Southern heirlooms, such as yacon, amaranths including peanuts, southern peas, naturally colored cotton, collards, okra, roselle, turnip greens, corns for roasting and meal, and butterbeans.
Fedco is acooperative businesswhere consumer members own 60 percent, and employee members own 40 percent. Because the cooperative doesn’t have an individual owner, profit isn’t its primary goal, so their seeds and other products are quite affordable.
Peaceful Valley is a seed company dedicated to organic food production that carries a large assortment of veggie seeds, cover crops,native grasses, pasture and lawn seed, wildflowers,fruit trees and berries, potatoes, onions and garlic. They also offer a great selection of gardening tools, pest control, season-extending products, composting supplies, growing, propagating and irrigation equipment, and books.
Johnny’s is a large, well-known employee-owned seed company that has more than 1,200 varieties of hybrid, open pollinated and heirloom vegetables, medicinal, culinary herbs and flowers. BONUS: Same day shipping.
Johnny’s also has high quality gardening tools, equipment and accessories, cover crop seed, soil amendments and organic pest control products. Their extensive site and catalog is full of detailed growing instructions and helpful tips, even if you don’t buy seeds from them.
Territorial Seed is a large, family-owned company whose mission is to improve people’s self-sufficiency and independence by enabling gardeners to produce an abundance of good tasting, fresh-from-the-garden food. They trial and evaluate all their seeds at their farms, and the live plants that they offer are raised in their farm greenhouses. They offer hybrid, open-pollinated and heirloom seed varieties.