Monday, February 15, 2010

Seeds for 2010

As you plan your 2010 garden PLEASE be thoughtful. If you are worried about crop diseases and are careful with chemical sprays because of concern for food quality and the environment, please also consider the implications of genetic manipulation in the seed supply. Many disease resistant crops are sold as improved cultivars but the research behind the gene ranges from benevolent to malevolent. Small farms and state extensions, for instance, release improved culivars but generally don't charge patent royalties. On the other hand, large companies also claim to have improved cultivars or LESS EXPENSIVE plants and seeds (available everywhere) because they are releasing patented genes into the food supply expecting cross-pollination and increased market royalties. You can not imagine the health and environmental implications of corporations owning gene patents, but please believe me when I say that it threatens to turn farmers into low-wage assemblymen of their products.
Just remember, when ordering seeds (and when buying plants and sprays) do the research, order over the phone and talk with someone knowledgeable, and if possible, buy from a small-scale local seed-saver. DON'T get your plants from box stores or a mega-nursery! Convenience and cheapness tempts you to be an enabler in a broader scheme, plain and simple.
Please also encourage friends and neighbors to be thoughtful when buying seeds plants.

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