In my garden the overwintered kale (White Russian) is six feet tall and bolting, buzzing with honeybees and bumblebees. Seed pods are forming and will drop seed and new plants will pop up later in the summer. This is a form of permaculture, I suppose. I like to see the kale blooms and though some find the leaves bitter after the plant bolts, we enjoy the taste. We will save some of the seeds to make sure we can perpetuate the kale in the future. Seed saving and exchanging seeds is growing in popularity. But at the same time, it’s under attack from companies that want to control the seed business.
This is really the problem with GMO. It may be years before we understand completely what the health hazards are with GMO seed, how the inserting of strange genes impacts humans and our environment, though it seems logical that, at this point, we can not know all the ramifications of messing with genetics. On the face of it, rearranging DNA sounds kind of like a Nazi war experiment to me. Distasteful at a minimum. Criminal at worst.
If this were a James Bond novel Monsanto would be the villain. A real life SMERSH.
The problem with GMO is the control issue. You can’t patent my kale seed. It’s not proprietary. But a genetically modified seed can be patented. Once you have the patent you can control how that seed is used and who gets to use it. If one or two companies can control the source of seed they control the food supply. They will then control the world. It is the stuff of science fiction or Ian Flemming.
It’s difficult to fight back when Monsanto has the inside track in Washington D.C. with even a Supreme Court Justice, one of their former attorneys (Clarence Thomas0, in their camp. Is it surprising that Monsanto recently won a landmark case in the high court involving a farmer’s “misuse” of Monsanto proprietary seed?
Our government works hand in hand with Monsanto to promote their agenda world wide. We know this thanks to Wikileaks.
Beth, the healthy home economist has provided us with four suggestions for keeping Monsanto out of our home gardens now that they control more than 40% of the vegetable seed market:
- Avoid buying from the seed companies affiliated with Monsanto. Here’s a list of these seed companies: http://www.seminis.com/global/us/products/Pages/Home-Garden.aspx
- Buy from this list of companies Monsanto HASN’T bought and are not affiliated or do business with Seminis: http://www.occupymonsanto360.org/ 2012/03/06/monsanto-free-seed-companies/
- Avoid certain heirloom varieties because Monsanto now apparently owns the names. This article lists the seed varieties to avoid: http://www.occupymonsanto360.org/2012/03/17/monsanto-owned-seednames/
- Ask seed companies if they have taken the Safe Seed Pledge. Here’s a list of companies that have done so: http://www.councilforresponsiblegenetics.org/ViewPage.aspx?pageId=261
There have been some questions about Territorial Seed where a lot of us buy seed and their relationship to Monsanto’s Seminis Seed Company. Here’s the skinny on that:
The case of Roundup which, sadly, many Lummi Islanders still use to kill weeds, points out how unethical Monsanto actually is. People still using Roundup need to read this and the many other studies available proving that it is harmful to human and animal health. Monsanto doesn’t care. They make using Roundup look like great fun and a manly activity at that.
And, finally, a brilliant essay by a young woman who has a connection to Lummi Island, granddaughter of a Lummi Island resident.
Money quote: “Our place is here, fighting Agra-Giants such as Monsanto, Dupont, and GE here on American soil by tilling it up and growing our own food.”