Saving Our Genetic Heritage One Seed at a Time (part 2)

Cucumber - Straight Eight (7)Jill Henderson ~ Show Me Oz

GMO’s are organisms that have had their natural genetic structure altered by literally forcing the genes of unrelated plants, animals, insects, fungi, bacteria, viruses and even human genes into the host plant’s embryonic cells using a virus as a vector to infect the host and spread the new gene. I don’t know what your spiritual beliefs are, but I don’t believe the Creator intended rice and mice to splice. And spirituality aside, there are serious concerns as to how these genetically modified foods act upon the human and animal body when consumed over a long period of time.

Many Americans believe that it is the job of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to protect consumers from the potential dangers that might come from eating or growing GMO’s. They also have been led to believe that the Department of Agriculture and the Department of Environmental Safety are there to make sure that GMO’s don’t pose a threat to other life forms. But these beliefs are not only untrue, but give the general public a false sense of security, which in turn allows the mega-corporations plenty of room to do as they please.

The real truth is that the FDA has never conducted a single study on the safety of consuming or growing GMO’s. Instead, they rely entirely on information supplied to them from the purveyors of false science and lobbyists paid for by Monsanto, Syngenta, DuPont and other biotech/chemical companies whose sole interest is not to “feed the world”, as their PR touts claim, but to make money for themselves and their shareholders.

There are, however, more than just a few independent studies that have proven beyond a shadow of a doubt that not only do GMO’s not produce more food than conventionally bred crops, but that the physical effects of consuming them have disastrous consequences for humans and animals alike. If the health and well-being of human lives do not stir the general populace to reject GMO’s outright, perhaps the loss of their ability to grow and save the seed from non-GMO food crops – including those in their very own gardens – will.

Unfortunately, Pandora’s Box has been opened by greed and there is no going back. We can’t just gather up all the genetically modified plants and put them, their pollen and the seeds they have generated back inside the box. The biotech industry understands this all too well, which is why they are buying more and more small seed companies, genetically modifying as many food crops as possible, as fast as possible, and patenting plant varieties that you and I generally consider “heirloom” varieties that have and always should belong to the people of the world.

Even the casual seed saver understands the concept of pollination, which is the natural movement of pollen from one plant to another in order to produce fruit and seed. And even though GMO’s are not “natural” in any reasonable sense of the term, that does not stop them from passing their genes on to non-GMO food crops, like the sweet corn or beets or edamame in your very own vegetable garden – a fact that the biotech giants have known about from the very beginning.

Way back in 1998, scientists at the University of Chicago were experimenting with genetically modifying a variety of mustard to be herbicide resistant. And although no known gene effecting floral characteristics was altered, the workers noticed that the genetically modified flowers looked a little different from those on the un-altered plants.

Though the scientists thought this change was unlikely to be significant, they decided to test the modified plants’ out-crossing rates, or the rate at which pollen successfully pollinates a female flower to produce viable seed in comparison to the non-altered plants. It turned out that the genetically engineered mustard had over 20 times the out crossing rate of the standard mustard.

In short, the pollen from the genetically engineered mustard was over 20 times more likely to successfully reproduce than its natural counterpart growing right next to it. This disturbing fact spells disaster for non-GMO crops grown in the same region as open pollinated and organic crops, and its outcome has already been felt by farmers all over the world. Over the last 16 years, the number and varieties of commercial GMO crops have exploded.

It’s not just flour corn and soy, but wheat, rice, beets, squash, papaya, apples, tomatoes and many other common food crops – and the list is growing every year. Even if you don’t intend to grow GMO crops, if you live anywhere near where they are being grown, there is a more than real threat of contamination through the pollination process.

What’s even more disturbing is that crop farmers and backyard gardeners have no recourse to GMO contamination. Jere Gettle, founder of Baker Creek Heirloom Seed Company, said in his seed catalog that finding corn seed that has not been contaminated by GMO’s is almost impossible. Even if you have a moral opposition to GMO’s you are probably eating them right now, because they are found in almost every type of pre-packaged foods imaginable.

GMO’s are so pervasive in our food system that even organic standards now allow for small percentages of GMO contamination. The only way any of this is going to change is by consumers demanding the labeling of all products that contain GMO ingredients and by boycotting any corporation that fights against labeling. It is our right as consumers to know what is in the food we grow and in the food we buy.

The next step is to buy and grow only open-pollinated and heirloom seeds from companies that have taken the Safe Seed Pledge and avoid those that have affiliations with biotech firms such as Monsanto and their garden seed brands, Seminis and DeRuiter, which sell seeds to other seed companies not owned by Monsanto.

Last, but not least, if you already farm or garden then it is time to learn to save at least some of your own seed. Seed saving is not only fun for the whole family; it’s super easy to do, especially if you are already gardening or farming. By saving seed, you will help preserve and enhance the genetic diversity of one of the world’s most precious resources.

Seed saving also allows you to be prepared for hard times or sudden disaster; it also allows you to control where your seed comes from and gives you the power to create regionally adapted varieties that are better suited to your growing conditions. Saving seed can help you avoid GMO contaminated food and animal feed and can literally save you a ton of money every year for the rest of your life.

In most cases, just a few plants are all you need to obtain thousands of seeds – enough for yourself and everyone you know for years to come! And saving seed will not only save you a ton of money, but will diversify your variety choices, increase genetic diversity among food crops, preserve old and family heirlooms and provide a skill that you can pass on to future generations.

The Neem Tree, Environment, Culture and Intellectual Property
http://www1.american.edu/ted/neemtree.htm
NPG: Background Paper on the Neem Patent Challenge
http://www.platformgentechnologie.nl/patents/euro_pat_office/parents/neem_final_backgrounder_nl.shtml
Wild Garden Seed: Plant Patents on Common Vegetables
https://www.wildgardenseed.com/articles/plant-patents-on-common-vegetables
Johnny’s Select Seeds: Understanding Utility Patents and Plant Variety Protection (PVP)http://www.johnnyseeds.com/assets/information/understanding_utility_patents_and_pvp.pdf
The FDA Does Not Test Whether GMOs are Safe an excerpt from Chapter 2, Seedy Business by Gary Ruskin
https://usrtk.org/the-fda-does-not-test-whether-gmos-are-safe/

Show Me Oz | Living and loving life in the Ozarks!
Gardening, foraging, herbs, homesteading, slow food, nature, and more!
© Jill Henderson


GSSG-Cover-135x211_thumbThe Garden Seed Saving Guide
Easy Heirloom Seeds for the Home Gardener

As the world food and seed supply is being been hijacked by powerful corporate interests, saving seeds is a skill that everyone needs to learn to survive. Praised by gardeners and seed savers alike, this little no-nonsense book will teach you everything you need to know to start saving your own organic seeds right now – and do it in less than 50 pages.  Look inside!


Jill Henderson is an artist, author, and the editor of Show Me Oz  Her books, The Healing Power of Kitchen Herbs, The Garden Seed Saving Guide and A Journey of Seasons and Illuminati Agenda 21 can be found in the Show Me Oz Bookstore.  Jill is a featured columnist for Acres USA and a contributing author to Llewellyn’s Herbal Almanac and her work has appeared in The Permaculture Activist and The Essential Herbal.


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11 responses to “Saving Our Genetic Heritage One Seed at a Time (part 2)

  1. Great and informative article Jill about organic seeds. Even the color of the flowers was altered, as blue tulips that never existed before. You mentioned about labeling GMO food for the general public, very important fact but I doubt the food industry wants that, we must fight for it. All people can do is to save their own seeds and learn how to distinguish characteristics between the GMO and NON-GMO fruits and vegetables; As for me I can distinguish them by size and shape, GMO ones have the same size and shape and they never get brown. What do you think Jill? What other differences you know?

    • No, they don’t want labeling. In the US there is a modified version of labeling starting to happen but it’s only through QR or bar codes labels on products that must be scanned to find out any information.

      As for telling GMO from non-GMO: like you said, the more ‘perfect’ looking a fruit or vegetable appears to be, the more I distrust it in general. This is mostly because, as a gardener who grows much of her own food, perfection is hard to come by naturally. These kinds of fruits and vegetables are often the result of herbicides, pesticides, or both.

      As of today, there are 11 GMO crops worldwide. These are alfalfa, apples, canola, sweet and field corn, cotton, papaya, potatoes, soybeans, squash, sugar beets and most recently, wheat. But what really concerns me is that these, along with numerous other non-GMO crops, are being sprayed with glyphosate (aka RoundUp and other brand names) herbicides in order to desiccate plants just before harvest.

      This allows farmers to kill the above ground foliage on crops like squash, potatoes and watermelon, wheat, oats, beans, lentils, sugar cane, flax, canola, peas, and even non-GMO soybeans to make harvesting easier. This practice ensures that this cancer-causing and neuro-damaging pervasive chemical is fresh and present on the crop at harvest and winds up in the finished food and everything that is made from it. It also destroys the seed value of non-GMO crops.

      More than 70 food crops are desiccated with glyphosate in this way, including almonds, oranges, grapes, apples, watermelons and figs. You can find the list of all these crops here: https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B-pJR4cGo9ckb3k4UDczbVdiT1E/view

  2. Thank you so much for your information, Jill. I will definitely check the link.
    I have noticed at the farmers market, here in Eastern Europe, the other day big apple sized radish and huge carrots. They had a very perfect shape and color, so I asked the farmers what seeds they use and they said they had bought the seeds. They also had no clue about Monsanto and glyphosate. I am very concerned as well since the situation deteriorated in the last couple of years. There were huge disputes in the EU some states totally banned glyphosate but others were so much in favor of it. Bayer keeps lobbying.

    When I usually walk through the market and compare the fruits and vegetables, I can still find regular ones, I can recognize them, but unfortunately, most buyers have no clue, the demand is for perfect sized vegetables/fruits, rejecting the normal ones. Most of the buyers have no clue who Monsanto is. Monsanto sells seeds through other subsidiaries /companies. As for the farmers, there are very few, who really know about GMO and glyphosate, most of them only care about selling nice looking vegetables and fruits and make more profit. Slowly but surely these corporations will buy up everything and patent the whole food industry if no one cares. You have to be very careful about what you buy I would rather buy fruits and vegetables that are getting brown. Healthy non-GMO fruit or vegetable has to rot.
    Most of the prepackaged food contains modified corn starch. Vines as well contain glyphosate, the same as beer unless you buy homemade wine. Your right everything is desiccated before harvest. The best thing is to buy from people you know. Incredibly but true, many farmers require glyphosate for increasing their production and profit. Profit rules this world and most people prefer that way.
    It’s not only the corporations’ fault but it’s the people as well they have to demand healthy food and fight the corporations, but it happens the other way around.

    • So true, Laura. By the way, those giant radishes and carrots are most likely grown from hybrid seeds, which are a natural breeding process that is nothing like GMOs. However, I find those exaggerated sized veggies to be flavorless. It’s all about the ‘show’ and not the flavor or nutrition. I suggest searching out farmers who focus on healthy soil. Without healthy, living soil filled with microbes the seeds one uses makes little difference if the food grown from it it is nutrition-less.

  3. I need to share it with you, Dr. Anthony Williams talks about sluggish liver HHV6 viruses and heavy metals in your liver, lack of bile and other stuff

  4. I can’t attach Dr. Anthony William’s site but it’s called Medical medium, you can go on google and find it and then subscribe for free. He has lots of videos there. I will email his PDF books to Dean as I can’t attach them here.
    I find everything he says so true, all makes sense, everything is caused by viruses and heavy metals, and herpes viruses, so very important to keep healthy nutrition, detox regularly.
    Thanks for your advice Jill, I will find farmers who focus on healthy soil.

  5. The best way to listen to Dr. Anthony William is to sign in to Soundcloud where you can follow him. I have just finished listening to a couple of his shows and he tackles all the herpes viruses, Epstein Barr their damage to our body: liver, colon, gallbladder, connecting the dots, lots to learn.

  6. I find the best way to sign in to SoundCloud where you can listen to him.

  7. I am not sure if you know about Aloe Ferox Jill, I will share with you this article, very good plant to detox
    http://www.altmedicinezone.com/herbal-medicine/health-benefits-aloe-ferox/

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