Sunday, July 21, 2013
Growing Heirloom Crops: Another Way to Stick it to Monsanto by Elizabeth Renter
Growing Heirloom Crops: Another Way to Stick it to Monsanto
by Elizabeth Renter
Natural Society, 21 July 2013
There are frightening things going on with today’s global food supply. Perhaps the most frightening is the proliferation of genetically-modified seeds being used to grow genetically-modified foods. They are unsustainable and have untold long-term health consequences, but various entities (including the U.S. government) seem hell-bent on letting them take over. Monsanto is one company at the center of this movement, doing their best to ensure all foods are genetically modified, and that all seeds must be purchased from them for their own benefit.
From buying organic and non-GMO foods to advocating for GMO labeling, there are several ways to put up a fight against GMOs. In addition to these simple steps, growing your own organic, heirloom vegetables and fruit will help ensure that your food supply isn’t tainted with GMOs, and will even work to preserve the integrity of food for future generations.
Heirloom produce are plants that have been prized for their performance and flavor, so much so that their seeds have been saved throughout centuries. These seeds have managed to avoid genetic manipulation and provide some of the best-tasting and often unusual produce around.
Heirloom gardening isn’t always great for large-scale production—the crops don’t all ripen at once and they don’t have a consistent appearance. In fact, many of them are really strange looking. But their unusualness and their flavor are what make them so worthwhile.
Many heirloom varieties have been passed down in families and communities in a particular area for season after season. This makes them particularly suited to that specific climate and soil conditions, meaning they will do better than the mass-produced hybrids you find at the local garden center.
Heirloom gardening has experienced a resurgence as of late, as people are becoming more and more interested in sustainable small-scale agriculture, growing their own food, and organic gardening. Seed banks, collecting places for these saved-seeds, are popping up across the country.
Actually, in Africa, New Jersey, the UK, Russia, and Mexico, edible organic gardens are paving the way to a new trend in food sustainability and a way to give GMO companies a run for their money. People are slowly getting the hint that we don’t need to rely solely on Big Pharma and the corrupt companies trying to peddle GMO poison in order to sustain healthy, vital food sources for a growing world population.
If you’re ready to add a few heirloom varieties to your garden, be cautious. Unfortunately, Monsanto has their hand in seed companies too—so seek out those who have taken the “Safe Seed Pledge”, which assures they are organic and not genetically modified. The Council for Responsible Genetics offers a “Safe Seed Resource List” to help you find the seed companies with your best interests in mind.
And if you really enjoy your first crop, learn how to save your seeds to protect future agricultural generations.