Buying organic non-GMO seeds protects you from using any genetically modified seeds. One requirement for being called organic is that it is a non GMO (genetically modified organism.) It can’t have been genetically modified. So as I have been waiting for Home Depot’s seed to go on sale, I’ve been doing some reading on organic, non GMO seed. I am now commmitted to buying non GMO, organic seed.
According to Environment: The Science Behind the Stories* a college textbook, 85% of US corn and 90% of US soybeans, cotton and canola come from genetically modified strains. Globally in 2009 14 million farmers grew genetically modified crops on 331 million acres which amounts to 9% of all cropland in the world. Though some research has been done, there is no guarantee that this will not impact our environment in a negative way. We have learned that some of these GMO’s have already cross-bred with native species.
In 1999, High Mowing Organic Seeds with a group of 9 other seed companies created the Safe Seed Pledge. This is from their website: “In signing the Safe Seed Pledge we affirm our commitment to non-GMO seed. We feel that the regulatory framework for the introduction of genetically modified crop varieties is flawed, and that GMO seeds themselves present a threat to plants’ genetic diversity through their ability to pollinate non-GMO crops.”
Now there about a 100 seed companies that have signed this pledge for 2010. There is a list of all these seed companies at the website for the Council of Responsible Genetics.
The last few years I have been ordering Heirloom seeds from the Seed Savers Exchange which is on the Safe Seed Pledge list. But I also supplemented with seed from Home Depot, especially when you can buy one and get one free. So I am now making a commitment to buy only organic seed (Home Depot does carry some organic seed) to support all the companies that have taken the Safe Seed Pledge. I think it is very important for our world and our environment.
I listened to a podcast on Ken Druse’s Real Dirt website: an interview with Margaret Roach that got me started on reading about organic seeds. This interview is very interesting and brings up points that you might not have thought about when you buy seeds for your garden. The podcast is dated 1/28/2011.
*Environment: The Science Behind the Stories, 4th Edition, by Jay Withgott & Scott Brennan 2011 pages 262-263