We know that the global biotech company Monsanto (now Bayer) does some crazy things with nature – they’ve been in the public eye for years and years. But some conscientious gardeners don’t know exactly how many of the smaller seed companies have been bought up by this corporate giant, and how to avoid paying Monsanto when you plant your home garden!
Find out about some of the lesser-known news about what Monsanto is doing in the seed market, and you’ll be better able to defend against its unnatural excesses, and what it’s doing to family farmers who want to do things the right way.
Just this week, news is breaking that a federal jury awarded $80 million to a California man who suffers from non-Hodgkins lymphoma. The court and jury found that the use of Monsanto’s Roundup product contributed to the victim’s cancer.
There’s a wild debate about the use of glyphosate and its carcinogenic properties. But after this initial court case, you can bet that the dominoes will start falling. Monsanto will be found liable in other cases, and the company will have to be on the defense when it comes to one of its flagship products. But will that stop the indiscriminate use of glyphosate and its impact on our food?
Unfortunately, the company’s track record suggests it will probably pay any applicable fines or liabilities and pass at least some of those costs onto producers.
Big ag companies already pay millions of dollars for Monsanto’s GMO seeds, as the company cites research and design costs involved in creating these Frankenstein products. GMOs are genetically modified and engineered to withstand glyphosate so that farmers can blanket spray the entire crop. This self-enriching scheme is only one of the terrible things that Monsanto is doing to farming and the agricultural community, but it’s one that has the biggest impact on human health.
You can see this firsthand in the furious spate of articles that cropped up last summer when researchers detected higher than reported levels of glyphosate in a range of breakfast cereals. A big part of the cereal maker’s defense was that the EPA has set acceptable glyphosate levels at around 30,000 ppb. However, if you read the fine print – that’s 180 times the acceptable levels cited by EWG!
When you use common sense, you can see that glyphosate levels found in our food are anything but proven safe. Instead, Monsanto continues to use fig leaves provided by agencies like FDA and USDA and EPA to continue giving us the food that they want to sell – not the food that we want!
Monsanto and Seed Companies
Meanwhile, Monsanto is quietly buying up other seed companies, which means that even if you buy hybrid or heirloom seeds on the market, you may be buying Monsanto products. Small Footprint Family goes over the acquisition of Seminis and talks about just how much of the seed industry Monsanto may run through subsidiaries.
A visual shows dozens of companies owned outright by Monsanto, including some that sell both hybrid and heritage seed options.
Activists also talk about Monsanto trying to patent natural processes and taking credit for major advances brought about through more conventional hybrid methods.
Heirloom Seeds and the Safe Seed Pledge
According to the experts, one of the best ways to make sure you’re not buying from a Monsanto subsidiary is to ask seed companies about the Safe Seed Pledge that means companies have sustainability in mind.
Safe Seed Pledge companies include:
· Seed Savers Exchange
· Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds
· Clear Creek Seeds
· Southern Exposure Seed Exchange
· Fedco Seeds
· Renée’s Garden Seeds
· Peaceful Valley Farm and Garden Supply
· Johnny’s Selected Seeds
· Territorial Seed Company
· Seeds of Change
Look at any of these company catalogs and websites, and you’ll see smaller farm businesses around the country fighting to take on big agriculture and keep Monsanto and others accountable for the changes and damage they have wrought.
Let’s make sure that these companies don’t get a stranglehold on agriculture in our communities and across the country. The American economy was born through agriculture, and our traditional family farmers deserve our support and encouragement!
The consumer also deserves food safety. Buying your own heirloom seeds and creating your own small garden to feed your family means you’re not relying on possibly contaminated supermarket produce trucked in from hundreds or even thousands of miles away. At GTKYF Foundation Inc, (the parent organization for My Victory Garden) , we are active in working to keep farming small and local and build knowledge of seed stock awareness.