Monsanto vs. the Seed Savers

Since the dawn of agriculture, farmers and gardeners have been saving seed. Now this fundamental human activity is being threatened by Monsanto and its genetically modified seed. In areas where GM corn and sugar beets are grown, farmers and gardeners who grow open pollinated varieties of corn and beets run the risk of cross pollination with GM varieties nearby. This means these growers can no longer save their seed because it may be contaminated with the genetics of the GM varieties. To add insult to injury, Monsanto has even sued farmers, whose seed has inadvertently been contaminated, with patent infringement.

The Organic Seed Growers and Trade Association, along with a group of farmers and seed companies, are suing Monsanto to protect themselves from these patent infringement lawsuits. Monsanto has filed a motion to dismiss the case, and this Tuesday, January 31st, the federal district court judge in New York will hear oral arguments in the case and decide whether or not the case can go forward. Here’s a video of OSGATA’s attorney Dan Ravicher explaining the case, and there’s lots more information here. You can show your support for the seed savers by signing this petition, or better yet, head over to Foley Square on Tuesday.

I’ve got some seeds I saved from last year, and a few things I accidentally bought extra packets of. So I think this Tuesday, in solidarity with these farmers, I’m going to mail some seeds to some gardening friends in far away places. Want some seeds? Leave a comment telling me a little bit about your garden (even if its just a pot on your kitchen windowsill). I’ll pick a few commenters and send a packet of seeds their way.

11 thoughts on “Monsanto vs. the Seed Savers

  1. I love your blog!! I dream of one day having a garden like yours. RIght now I have a few pretty things I didn’t plant and a lot of weeds.
    In November I decided to take on the project of cleaning and making my backyard beautiful and usable. There are six other apartments in my building and as far as I can tell I am the only person that has been out there in the past five to ten years. There is a lot of work to be done. So far I have made some major progress hacking blackberries and ivy and weeding but I haven’t gotten around to planting. Hope to get there in the next month or so – this is San Francisco so (from what I understand) we can kind of plant year round. Want to come help?!

  2. This GM seed legal thing is so bizarre! I’m dreaming of a big garden this summer, inspired by Barbara Kingsolver’s Animal, Vegetable, Miracle book and a visit to Mark and Kristin Kimball’s farm (and my wife putting me on a plant-strong diet), so I’d love to include some of your seeds. I was drawn to your website by the name (via your tweet to k_kimball Dec 7) because my wife grew up on a family pickle farm/packer here in Ohio (“Pickles” was the nickname her girl scouts gave her). OK, now I’m going to go enjoy looking at the rest of your site – thanks!

    • I read Animal, Vegetable, Miracle years ago, before I ever had a garden, and just the other day I decided to re-read it. Kristin Kimball’s book is great too! Good luck with your big garden!

  3. Good post! Since starting to grow veggies I’ve become a seed saver too, I’ve learnt loads, shared the bounties, comiserated over the failures, helped continue old and interesting heriatge seeds, oh and had a heap of fun ! Do you have any seed swaps near you, they are a great place to find tried and tested varieties, meet fellow gardeners and generally have a good time. Oh and yah boo sucks to GM crops :)

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