Fedco Seeds was mentioned as a source for seeds in a posting. After
reading more about them in "The Revolution Will Not Be Microwaved" by
Sandor Ellix Katz, I want to second the recommendation, based on their
moral stand against Monsanto. If for no other reason, than that I don't
see a lot of morality in business these days and, I would like to
encourage it where it shows itself. Secondly Fedco Seed is an employee
owned business, so everyone there is painfully aware of the bottom line,
and they still dumped Monsanto.
I mean, how crazy do you have to be, to create a "Round Up Ready" plant
that allows for the greater spreading of toxic chemicals? There are
already reports of herbicide resistant weeds and, when the terminator
gene is allowed to spread, we may all be dead meat walking.
The following is an excerpt from pages 44 and 45.
Dependence upon ever-growing corporate entities for something as
basic as seed is not pretty. Alfonso Romo Garza, the billionaire who
masterminded the consolidation of Seminis prior to its sale to
Monsanto, bragged to the Wall Street Journal: ³Seeds are software.
And we have the seeds.²(1) That would now make Monsanto the
Microsoft of food. Do we really want to be that dependent on a single
corporation for our ³ operating system"?
Monsanto and the nine next largest seed corporations control more
than half of the world's commercial seed supply.(2) ³ What you are seeing
is not just a consolidation of seed companies," explains Robb Fraley,
Monsanto's executive vice president and chief technology officer, ³ it's
really a consolidation of the entire food chain.²(3) Fedco decided to
drop Monsanto's seeds and announced in its 2006 catalog that the company
was ³ getting off the seed grid. . . .We do so because Monsanto
epitomizes the road down which we no longer choose to go ... the road
that leads to our complete surrender of control of our seed and
therefore of control of our food system."
Expansion of the legal concept of intellectual property underlies
corporate control of seeds. Intellectual property law deals with
proprietary interests in innovations such as inventions, as well as
abstractions such as words, ideas, sounds, and images. Over the past few
decades, laws around the world have been rewritten to protect the
intellectual property rights of plant breeders, allowing breeds to be
patented and constraining ways in which farmers may sell, trade, give
away, and even plant saved seeds. ³ Quite clearly a monopolistic patent
regime cannot be established as long as farmers have the alternative of
their own zero cost, reliable, time-tested, high-value seeds of their
traditional varieties of indigenous agro-biodiversity," points out
Vandana Shiva.(4) What has traditionally been viewed as a natural
right-saving seed as an integral element of local agricultural
practice-is being transformed by globalizing corporate interests into a
legally granted (or denied) privilege.
In order to prevent farmers from ³ cheating" the patent holders by
saving and replanting seed, the seed industry, in cooperation with the
U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), has developed what is known
as ³ terminator" technology, seeds that generate self-sterilizing plants.
The disclosure of this technology in 1998 created an international furor.
For now, the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity has
imposed an international moratorium on terminator technology, but it
has been repeatedly challenged.(5) The technology exists, and those who
stand to profit from it are likely to persist.
³ Biotechnology essentially aims to eliminate sexuality as a means of
passing on genetic material," contends Peter Lamborn Wilson. ³ Capital
has now reached the theoretical stage of commodifying the life process
itself. The principle of intellectual ownership of nature-the final
enclosure-seems to have become the basis for the global world order
and its economy.²(6)
Increasingly, national governments and other, even less accountable,
international regulatory institutions have been imposing plant-breed
protection laws that deny the traditional right to perpetuate seed. . .
1. Quoted in Nabhan, Coming Home to Eat, 149.
2. ETC Group, "Global Seed Industry Concentration-2005," Communique 90
(September/October 2005), www.etcgroup.org/article.asp ?newsidR4.
3. Heike Ferrie, "Schmeiser vs. Monsanto,"
4. Vandana Shiva, "The Indian Seed Act and Patent Act: Sowing the Seeds
Dictatorship" (February 14, 2005), Znet,
5. ETC Group, "Canadian Government to Unleash Terminator Bombshell at
UN Meeting: All-out Push for Commercialisation of Sterile Seed
(February 7, 2005), www.etcgroup.org/article.asppnewsids498
6. Wilson, "Avant Gardening," 17.
7. Stephen Leahy, "Canada: Monsanto Victory Plants Seed of Privatisation"
(October 5, 2004), Inter Press Service,
8. Shiva, "The Indian Seed Act and Patent Act: Sowing the Seeds of
9. Coalition Against Biopiracy, "Captain Hook Awards for Biopiracy 2006,"
www.captainhookawards.org/winners/2006_pirates, accessed June 21, 2006.
10. ETC Group, "Whatever Happened to the Enola Bean Patent Challenge?"
(December 21, 2005), www.etcgroup.org/documents/GenotypeEnola05.pdf .
Now I'm waiting on the library to take a closer look at "Seed to Seed:
Seed Saving and Growing Techniques for Vegetable Gardeners" by Suzanne
Ashworth and Kent Whealy. There may be no other choice, except for the
(Amazon.com product link shortened)
Bush & Cheney, Behind Bars
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