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.