The word, “organic” commonly refers to the way farmers grow and process agricultural products. But with all of the focus on organic food – sometimes we forget the importance of investing in non-gmo seeds. With large biotech corporations like Monsanto and Syngenta controlling 40 percent of the U.S. vegetable seed market, it’s now more important than ever to seek out and store “safe seeds.”
Doing so can offer support to natural farmers, improve the environment and our health while making it easier to grow seeds in safe conditions.
It Offers Support
It’s simple: buying “safe seeds” supports the companies and farms that are committed to producing healthy food. When you make the choice to purchase non-gmo over modified seed, it sends a message that you support a more positive trend towards improving agriculture, without genetic engineering. It also promotes more research for finding new ways to grow seeds specifically using natural conditions.
It’s Better For The Environment
When crops are grown for seed, they require an entire life cycle for seeds to mature. This results in a greater length of time in which pests and diseases can destroy the seed crop, and may explain why in conventional farming, plants are doused with pesticides, herbicides, and fungicides. These chemicals are poisonous and should not be allowed to run-off into our water supply, as they can be hazardous to our health and our children’s future. They also carry heavy toxic load for the environment, and the surrounding natural farms. Yet, with the focus on the bottom line, companies allow these devastating effects.
Buying non-gmo seed that is certified organic provides the assurance that no synthetic chemicals were used while the seed was growing and maturing. In this video, a seed geneticist discusses how organic crops are “babied,” while being able to withstand the common problems farmers face.
It Makes It Easier To Grow Organically
Non-GMO seed that grows in organic conditions are more likely to thrive using natural gardening practices. When seeds grow in organic conditions, they become more adapted to compost and milder applications of pesticides, and develop stronger roots to seek out scattered nutrients in the soil. On the other hand, when seeds are modified and then developed with conventional farming practicing in mind, seeds become more reliant on fertilizers and pesticides to survive.
Studies show that when life gets a little tougher for organic plants, often times, it forces the crop to withstand drought, bad weather, and other common gardening problems. It’s also important to remember that high quality seeds have already proven their viability in organic growing conditions.
It’s Better For Our Health, Says Recent Studies
Over the last decade, plants and seeds have become increasingly engineered and treated with chemical fertilizers, synthetic insecticides and herbicides, as well as synthetic fungicides. A French study recently published their findings after rats were fed a lifetime of Monsantos’s genetically modified corn, as well as water tainted with American permitted “safe” levels of Round-Up.
While controversial, their findings were shocking.
The animals fed GM corn developed mammary tumors, as well as significant kidney and liver damage. In fact, up to 70% of the rats fed the GM diet died prematurely, compared with just 30% from the control group. Furthermore, the animals exposed to the “safe” levels of Round Up (remember that GM seed varieties are more tolerant to increased applications of this herbicide), had a lower life expectancy than the control group. Based on this study’s conclusions, Russia rushed to ban imports of Monsanto’s genetically modified corn, while France and a growing number of European countries continue to uphold their bans, not wanting to risk the health of their country.
Another reason to invest in “safe seeds?” Researchers at Stanford University published a study in the Annals of Internal Medicine that showed organically-grown food being more nutritious than conventionally grown. While this study has sparked controversy since, it’s important to keep in mind as we make choices about food.
**Do you use “safe seeds” in your garden? What are the reasons you personally choose to grow them?