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Astragene, with thanks to Garden web

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Good seed catalogs
Not February quite yet -- but it's time to think SEEDS!

For those who could use a list of reliable suppliers to the home garden, here's a list of ones that sell tried and true seeds and decline to sell anything that has been genetically modified.

The manual genetic modification technology has yet to be thoroughly tested by the USDA and found safe for consumption.

Nevertheless, Monsanto and one or two other giant chemical companies are forging ahead. Monsanto owns come companies that own some seed distributors that own some seed companies; I urge people not to buy from those companies. It's not always easy to tell, but one clue is to look at the bottom of their website and see who owns the copyright, then look up that company (if it's different).

Here are some of the good ones:

Park Seed
Park Seed has always been committed to offering only untreated, non-genetically-modified seed, and now we are proud to be a source of professionally-grown Certified Organic seed.

Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds
Your source for 1400 heirloom seeds. We only offer open-pollinated seeds: pure, natural & non-GMO!

Fedco Seeds
The company was founded in 1978 as a cooperative and caters mainly to home growers and market gardeners in the Northeast. Much of the seed offered is certified organic. The company maintains high standards, tests for genetically modified contamination, and offers excellent customer service.
I can order Fedco seeds through my local Food Coop, which gets the volume discount by placing bulk orders for its members.

Seed Savers Exchange
Seed Savers Exchange,Inc., is a non-profit membership organization dedicated to conserving and promoting heirloom vegetables, fruits, flowers and herbs.
Non-members can buy from the Seedsavers catalog, but members have access to a gret many more varieties of seeds, many brought here by immigrants and handed down through families

Johnnys Selected Seeds A seed cooperative in Maine.
...recognizing the precious genetic heritage in heirloom seeds, he offered numerous vintage varieties, whose seed, unlike hybrids, does not break down after one generation. And, although operating a business dependent upon seed sales, he wrote a book to help gardeners save their own vegetable seeds, called “Growing Garden Seeds”.

High Mowing Seeds
The Safe-Seed Pledge
Agriculture and seeds provide the basis upon which our lives depend. We must protect this foundation as a safe and genetically stable source for future generations. For the benefit of all farmers, gardeners and consumers who want an alternative, we pledge that we do not knowingly buy or sell genetically engineered seeds or plants.
The mechanical transfer of genetic material outside of natural reproductive methods and between genera, families or kingdoms poses great biological risks, as well as economic, political and cultural threats. We feel that genetically engineered varieties have been insufficiently tested prior to public release. More research and testing is necessary to further assess the potential risks of genetically engineered seeds. Further, we wish to support agricultural progress that leads to healthier soils, genetically diverse agricultural ecosystems and ultimately healthy people and communities

For more catalog information, check out The Vegetable Gardener blog
For an explanation of what's wrong with genetically modified organisms, take a look at Say No to GMOs, a website with links to many informative articles.
To read what Monsanto has to say for itself, look at their website. They argue that to keep up with population growth, the world will need genetically modified plants. (I wonder how they feel about birth control?)