Political Seeds

It is time to order the seeds.  I usually love looking through the catalogs, marking every single page with yellow stickies and highlighter, fantasizing about all I will grow.  I mark much more than I order, I order much more than I plant, and I plant much more than I eat – year after year, the same old story.  This year, though, I am relying more on my CSA for vegetables and am going to focus on growing the things Gorman Farm won’t supply in any quantity – asparagus, peas, fruit.  Sadly, I can order the seeds I need for my scaled-back veggie patch in a few minutes.  Scaling back is practical, but it sure isn’t as much fun.

But there is another reason I’m feeling less enthusiastic about looking through seed catalogs.  Buying seed has become a political act, and I feel both resentful and stymied.  Recently Monsanto (the company that brought us Roundup-ready crops) bought a seed company called Seminis.  Seminis provides 40% of the country’s seed, and if you buy from any of the mainstream seed companies – Johnny’s, Stokes, Burpee – you have a good chance of buying Seminis seed.  Now, just because Monsanto owns Seminis doesn’t mean all those seed varieties we’ve bought from Burpee for years are suddenly evil.  But it does mean some portion of the revenue from that seed now goes to Monsanto, and that sticks in my craw. 

My solution?  I’ll probably buy from Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds.  Their catalog is the one on top of the pile in the basket in the photo at top.  The company is owned and run by a couple of wacky back-to-the-landers in Missouri who enjoy dressing up in period clothing and re-enacting pioneer days, which I find somewhat endearing.  I am aware that by buying from Baker Creek I am also engaging in a political act – but it is one I can live with.  Power to the seeds.

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