Not all seeds are "created" equal. Today, large numbers of varieties of seeds are genetically modified to resist pests or diseases or to stimulate growth. These seeds are found aplenty, and sold very cheaply, at various discount stores and garden centers. Please do not purchase any seeds that are not organic and/or open-pollinated, heirloom regional varieties.
Here's how to make a wiser decision: buy seeds from companies who are committed to the Safe Seed Pledge.
Safe Seeds — How to Find Them
You can find safe, organic seeds from numerous companies both on the Internet or regional growers (best option). Most organic seed suppliers have voluntarily complied with the Safe Seed Pledge.
The Safe Seed Pledge was created in 1999 by High Mowing Organic Seeds, guiding a coalition of 9 other seed companies as a statement about the signers' stance on genetic engineering as well as a resource for consumers wishing to find sources of GE-free seeds. As of 2012, over 70 companies have signed the pledge, ranging from large seed companies to family-owned businesses such as High Mowing Organic Farm.
By signing the Safe Seed Pledge a company affirms their commitment to non-GMO (genetically modified organism) seed. The regulatory framework for the introduction of genetically modified crop varieties is flawed, and that GMO seeds themselves present a threat to plants' genetic diversity through their ability to pollinate non-GMO plants.
The Safe Seed Pledge
"Agriculture and seeds provide the basis upon which our lives depend. We must protect this foundation as a safe and genetically stable source for future generations. For the benefit of all farmers, gardeners and consumers who want an alternative, we pledge that we do not knowingly buy or sell genetically engineered seeds or plants. The mechanical transfer of genetic material outside of natural reproductive methods and between genera, families or kingdoms poses great biological risks, as well as economic, political and cultural threats. We feel that genetically engineered varieties have been insufficiently tested prior to public release. More research and testing is necessary to further assess the potential risks of genetically engineered seeds. Further, we wish to support agricultural progress that leads to healthier soils, genetically diverse agricultural ecosystems and ultimately healthy people and communities."
High Mowing Organic Seeds is located on a 40 acre farm in northern Vermont and has been offering 100% organic seed since 1996. High Mowing also has a collaborative blog called The Seed Hopper, where you can find everything from farming advice, info on companion planting, to recipes.
“At High Mowing Organic Seeds, we believe in re-imagining what our world can be like. We believe in a deeper understanding of how re-built food systems can support health on all levels – healthy environments, healthy economies, healthy communities and healthy bodies. We believe in a hopeful and inspired view of the future based on better stewardship for our planet. Everyday that we are in business, we are growing; working to provide an essential component in the re-building of our healthy food systems: the seeds.”
For a 1st person story of their visit to High Mowing Organic Seeds, go to Earth Mama 101 and catch the reverence of seed-growing in action.